Guest MINDSETTER™ Casimiro: RI National Guard is Crucial to Our Economy
Thursday, April 19, 2018
The RING is a significant economic engine. Each state dollar expended on the organization in 2017 leveraged $49.22 in federal funding. The RING expended in excess of $102.8 million in military and civilian pay coupled with an additional $22.5 million in construction projects. These projects include the Joint Force Headquarters in East Greenwich.
Soldiers and Airmen serving in these Quonset based units comprise the majority of the over 300 RING members currently deployed in support of overseas contingency operations. 126th Aviation Battalion is a fully self-supporting helicopter organization responsible for missions involving personnel and equipment transportation, as well as medical evacuations of critical care patients. The Wing’s airlift capability features a fleet of eight C-130J cargo airplanes. Valued in excess of $75 million each, they are the most modern version of aircraft in its class.
The 143d builds successful global partnerships around this platform. They have trained over 400 students from nine partner nations through their international pilot training program. Those students have been extended guests within our local economy.
During the aftermath of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, the RI Air National Guard provided humanitarian aid and disaster relief in Texas, Florida, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Throughout the relief operations, the 143d Airlift Wing executed more than sixteen missions, transporting 743 passengers and 327,000 pounds of cargo.
About one-half of the 3,150 members of the RING train and operate out of Quonset and more than 325 of the RING’s full-time positions are based here. A 2015 study on the economic impact of the Rhode Island Defense Sector by Bryant University noted that this is the highest wage paying sector in RI.
The professionals that serve in the National Guard today attain a higher degree of specialized training and professional education than ever before. The RING is persistently engaged in interagency collaboration in support of its state and federal missions. At any one time, about one-fifth of their organization are enrolled in higher education.
More than $49 million in federal funds have been invested in infrastructure improvements at Quonset over the past ten years. These projects include the construction of an air traffic control tower and a helicopter hangar and maintenance facility. The RING will invest $9.6 million of federal money in the operations at the Quonset State Airport over the next two years. The RING contributes over $4.8 million annually to support airport operations through air traffic control, and sustaining an Air Force Fire Department. There is currently over $30 million programmed for projects including runway reconstruction and new ramps and taxiways. The most advanced flight simulator, valued at $20 million, will be installed within the next eighteen months. This training facility, unique in the northeast region, will serve as a destination for training guests.
The Quonset Point Air National Guard Base is a valuable resource within our community that supports our economy with over 1,200 full and part-time members and military construction projects. The installation provides training and support to the defense and aviation sectors of the greater northeast region. The RING created an overall economic impact of $261,671,997 during the past year. This critical activity within our community would not occur without the presence of our state's military forces. I am proud of all of the accomplishments of our professional men and women of the Rhode Island National Guard. We can faithfully rely on them, in concert with their motto, to be "always ready, always there."
Rep. Julie A. Casimiro is a Democrat representing District 31 in North Kingstown and Exeter
Related Slideshow: GoLocal: Benchmark Poll, October 2017
Next year, in November of 2018, there will be a statewide general election for Governor and many other state offices. How likely is it that you will vote in this election?
Will you definitely be voting, will you probably be voting, are you 50-50...
Definitely be voting: 78%
Probably be voting: 13%
What would you say is the number one problem facing Rhode Island that you would like the Governor to address?
Jobs and economy: 21%
State budget: 9%
Corruption/Public integrity: .8%
Don’t know: .9%
Recently, a proposal has been made to permit the issuance of $81 million in bonds by the State to build a new stadium for the Pawtucket Red Sox. If there was an election today on this issue, would you vote to approve or reject issuing $81 million in financing supported moral obligation bonds to build the stadium?
Net: Approve: 28%
Definitely approve: 15%
Probably approve: 14%
Net: Reject: 67%
Probably reject: 19%
Definitely reject: 48%
Don't know: 4%
The next question is about the total income of YOUR HOUSEHOLD for the PAST 12 MONTHS. Please include your income PLUS the income of all members living in your household (including cohabiting partners and armed forces members living at home).
$50,000 or less: 27%
More $50,000 but less than $75,000: 13%
More $75,000 but less than $100,000: 13%
More $100,000 but less than $150,000: 17%
$150,000 or more: 13%
Don't know/refused: 17%
What particular ethnic group or nationality - such as English, French, Italian, Irish, Latino, Jewish, African American, and so forth - do you consider yourself a part of or feel closest to?
Black or African American: 6%
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