Meridian's Air National Guard base at Key Field plays a major role in east Mississippi's economy, with a total economic impact of more than $66 million.
The wing commander of the 186th Air Refueling Wing talked about that community impact with local business leaders.
Col. Mike Nabors just took over the command in December. He says he welcomes opportunities to report about the exceptional men and women of the 186th, as he did at the weekly meeting of the Meridian Downtown Optimist Club.
"We've got some special folks out there and some brave folks that do a lot of things for the nation every day," said Nabors. "We've got a lot of missions out there that we don't talk about a lot, but this is my opportunity to bring those men and women and what they do to light."
Nabors says Key Field is one of the largest employers in Lauderdale County, with 384 full-time personnel and almost 700 traditional guard personnel.