DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. --
The 2019 Central Delaware Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Committee State of the Base was held on Dover Air Force Base, Nov. 25.
More than 200 community members attended the annual event where Dover AFB leaders discussed their unit priorities and plans for the future, as well as the impacts they have on the surrounding communities.
Col. Joel Safranek, 436th Airlift Wing commander, discussed the wing’s mission and priorities and how they play into the National Defense Strategy, as well as base infrastructure and partnerships to help improve quality of life for Airmen and their families.
“The base has three missions, that is to provide rapid global airlift, combat ready airman and unrivaled installation support,” said Safranek.
Safranek said the one of the five wing priorities, preparing Airmen for contested environments, is based on the NDS, which states that interstate strategic competition is the primary concern.
To meet this goal, Safranek noted that Airmen must be prepared to fight anywhere and the base is working towards that goal by conducting exercises to test rapid deployment capabilities and the ability to continue operations without modern conveniences, such as electricity.
Safranek also discussed many community partnerships and operations the base supports in addition to its normal missions.
“Our wing has more than 50 support agreements ranging from the fire department to explosive ordnance disposal and military working dogs,” he continued. “Over the past year alone, the MWDs have helped out 22 secret service operations, as well as two off-base bomb threats, mortuary missions and found narcotics more than 13 times.”
Safranek also discussed upcoming military construction projects over the next year including renovating dormitories; heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems; the air traffic control tower and to burying power lines.
U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester and U.S. Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons, spoke about national level issues affecting the military in Delaware and ties between the base and the community.
“This is an amazing base,” said Coons. “We are blessed to have almost a unique level of engagement and support for this base. The base provides a huge amount to our community in terms of construction opportunities and business engagement opportunities. In return, we in Delaware do our best to welcome you and support you.
Lt. Col. Robin Ryan, 512th Mission Support Group commander, Col. Gilbert Eddy, Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations commander and Army Col. Louis Finelli, Armed Forces Medical Examiner System director, provided additional inputs on their individual unit missions.
Safranek reiterated his appreciation for the partnership between Dover AFB and the city of Dover. Events such as the State of the Base are a prime example of that partnership, and working together with the city of Dover is a priority for the base.