Team Dover hosts 2017 State of the Base Breakfast

Col. Ethan Griffin, 436th Airlift Wing commander, speaks during the annual State of the Base Breakfast Nov. 20, 2017, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Griffin shared the successes of the base throughout the year – the runway reconstruction project, approved construction efforts and hurricane relief missions – and highlighted influential Airmen from both the 436th and 512th Airlift Wings. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne)

Col. Ethan Griffin, 436th Airlift Wing commander, speaks during the annual State of the Base Breakfast Nov. 20, 2017, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Griffin shared the successes of the base throughout the year – the runway reconstruction project, approved construction efforts and hurricane relief missions – and highlighted influential Airmen from both the 436th and 512th Airlift Wings. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne)

Team Dover community members applaud during the annual State of the Base Breakfast Nov. 20, 2017, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Local community members, business leaders and government representatives attended the event to learn more about the installation and the Airmen of Dover AFB. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne)

Team Dover community members applaud during the annual State of the Base Breakfast Nov. 20, 2017, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Local community members, business leaders and government representatives attended the event to learn more about the installation and the Airmen of Dover AFB. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne)

Col. Craig Peters, 512th Airlift Wing commander, speaks during the annual State of the Base Breakfast Nov. 20, 2017, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Several speakers informed key community members about influential moments of the past year and Dover AFB’s economic impact across the Delmarva Peninsula. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne)

Col. Craig Peters, 512th Airlift Wing commander, speaks during the annual State of the Base Breakfast Nov. 20, 2017, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Several speakers informed key community members about influential moments of the past year and Dover AFB’s economic impact across the Delmarva Peninsula. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne)

Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., speaks during the State of the Base Breakfast Nov. 20, 2017, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Carper and the other speakers thanked Team Dover for their continued service and dedication to the local community and nation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne)

Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., speaks during the State of the Base Breakfast Nov. 20, 2017, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Carper and the other speakers thanked Team Dover for their continued service and dedication to the local community and nation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne)

Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester, D-Del., speaks during the State of the Base Breakfast Nov. 20, 2017, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Members of Team Dover received countless complements from community members praising their selfless service throughout the year. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne)

Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester, D-Del., speaks during the State of the Base Breakfast Nov. 20, 2017, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Members of Team Dover received countless complements from community members praising their selfless service throughout the year. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne)

Col. Craig Peters, 512th Airlift Wing commander, and Col. Ethan Griffin, 436th AW commander, stand with Delaware politicians at the State of the Base Breakfast Nov. 20, 2017, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Event speakers explained how both the base and Delmarva community benefit from the partnerships forged through teamwork. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne)

Col. Craig Peters, 512th Airlift Wing commander, and Col. Ethan Griffin, 436th AW commander, stand with Delaware politicians at the State of the Base Breakfast Nov. 20, 2017, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Event speakers explained how both the base and Delmarva community benefit from the partnerships forged through teamwork. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne)

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- Team Dover hosted the annual State of the Base Breakfast on Nov. 20, 2017, at The Landings here.

About 200 community members, active duty and reserve Airmen met for the event, which focused on informing central Delaware about the significant undertakings of Dover AFB over the last year, the installation’s economic impact and the improvements Team Dover is expecting in the near future.

Speakers at the event included Col. Ethan Griffin, 436th Airlift Wing commander; Col. Craig Peters, 512th AW commander; Governor John Carney, Del.; Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del.; Sen. Christopher Coons, D-Del.; and Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester, D-Del.

“It’s been a monumental year,” Griffin said. “It was the 300th anniversary of Dover, the 70th anniversary of the United States Air Force, the greatest air fighting force known to man, and of course, the 75th anniversary of Dover Air Force Base. We’ve worked on a number of things, and the economic impact has been tremendous: more than $570 million … Our nearly 11,000 strong force of [Airmen, civilians and families] did a great job of fiscally and responsibly spending our resources to make sure we can keep doing our mission.”

Griffin went on to discuss some of the key improvements the installation is expected to see over the next few years, including some base defense and quality of life improvements, a new school and a new collocated C-5 and C-17 hangar capable of providing maintenance on both aircraft at the same time. He also touched base on the two-year runway reconstruction effort, which extended its life expectancy by 50 years.

The installation also supported local small businesses with nearly $25 million of contracts awarded.

Another major event this year was the Thunder Over Dover Open House, Team Dover’s first open house since 2009.

“We put on an airshow this year,” Griffin said. “That was pretty impressive, and an all-in effort of precision and class by your Airmen here at Dover, but it wasn’t just Airmen. It was also our community partnership. Seventy-five thousand community members enjoyed performances by the Black Daggers, the Wings of Blue and the United States Air Force Thunderbirds. It was a tremendous show, and an example of the support we had from the community was from the Dover International Speedway, who provided experience and logistical support; DelDOT, who provided support with bus routes; DEMA emergency management folks helped the ground boss in the event that anything should happen during that time; and certainly Delaware State Police and several others as they helped direct traffic and keep us safe so that everyone could enjoy the festivities.”

While Griffin praised the support the installation received from the community, the next speaker thanked Team Dover for their contributions to the community.

“A lot of people probably think they do something like this at every Air Force base, Navy base, Marine [camp] or Army [post] around the country, but I’m going to tell you, you don’t have the kind of love for a military installation, the people who serve here, their families, reservists and the national guard like you do here in Delaware,” Carper said. “You just don’t see it. It’s not just by chance that throughout the last fifteen years, the Abilene Trophy has been claimed by the Dover community. This installation is in the running for the Commander in Chief’s award literally every year because Dover AFB is literally almost always nominated.”

This sentiment was shared by each guest speaker during the breakfast; there’s something special about the relationship between Dover and the base that shares its name.

“I love Dover Air Force Base, and so to be able to get this presentation was very important to me,” Blunt Rochester said. “Dover AFB, you keep us safe, and you do it with dignity and class. You do it at home during natural disasters. You do it abroad and protect us all around the world and you sacrifice your time with your family and friends. We’re very fortunate to be able to have so many brave and dedicated and selfless men and women serving right here in our state.”