Harper Hopeful ANG Base is Secure

Cong. Gregg Harper says he hopes the future of Meridian's Air National Guard base is secure after an announcement last week that it is getting its old mission back.

The air-to-air refueling mission of the KC135 tankers is returning after it was reassigned several years ago.

Harper, who was in east Mississippi for an industry announcement, says it's exciting news for Meridian.

"We've been through so much churn at the 186th and now to see this and the first ones to arrive this summer, it's incredible news, and we're so excited," said Harper. "We've got such a great team in Meridian at the base. And this is just recognizing the fact that they know how to take a mission and do the job."

The 186th began doing air refueling in 1992. Meridianites Al and Fred Key are credited with inventing modern air refueling in 1935. Their team included mechanic A.D. Hunter, who invented the fuel cutoff valve that today, with only slight modifications, is still used.

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