Grissom Tankers relocate for runway repair

  • Published
  • By By Douglas Hays
  • 434th ARW

Grissom will be a little quieter this summer.

Aircraft, aircrew, maintainers and support staff are on the move as Grissom’s 12,501 foot runway gets a makeover.

The $60 million project begins later this month, and is expected to be completed by late summer, or early fall depending upon weather.

Grissom’s KC-135s will operate primarily out of the Fort Wayne International Airport during the early stages of the runway repair, and will transition to Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio once their own runway repair project is complete.

“Runway repairs are typically done about every 10 years,” said Col. Thom Pemberton, 434th Air Refueling Wing commander. “This time is a little different, they are removing concrete down to the dirt in many areas – which is something that has not been done since it was built in 1942.”

Grissom planners have worked with both the airport staff, and the 122nd Fighter Wing based there to ensure a smooth transition of operations.

Some of the KC-135R Stratotankers began moving to Fort Wayne March 15, 2023.

The 434th ARW is the largest KC-135R Stratotanker wing in the Air Force Reserve Command. The unit has 16 aircraft assigned, but not all will be making the move to Fort Wayne and Wright Patterson.

Aircraft have been loaned to other units, and some are undergoing depot-level maintenance that will reduce the footprint of the forward locations.

One aircraft, 58-0093 will stay behind at Grissom. The aircraft is new to the Grissom fleet and will be brought up to Grissom standards. It also offers maintainers a chance to train and work on the aircraft without having to travel.

Once all the aircraft that are leaving are gone, base members can expect to see increased traffic from heavy equipment and trucks as they haul materials to and from the construction site.