MCLB Albany Community
The Mississippi National Guard Acquires Operational Site in the Grenada Municipal Airport
Story by PFC Micah Longmire on 06/01/2019
The Mississippi National Guard acquired twenty-five acres of the Grenada Municipal Airport, following negotiations that began with the city in 2017, to be utilized for training, weather-safe storage, and air traffic control for military and civilian purposes.
The Greater Grenada Partnership facilitated and finalized the agreement as a long term lease that will serve as a multipurpose operations center for Camp McCain, Mississippi.
The annex allows the Mississippi National Guard to have a permanent footprint for training and increases the capabilities of Camp McCain which allows for total unit readiness, said Col. Rick Weaver, the garrison commander of Camp McCain.
Soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 185th Aviation Brigade are serving their state and the city of Grenada by providing qualified air traffic controllers and permanent equipment such as radars and a control tower. This not only allows for increased safety in aerial operations, but will also allow for more air traffic which may help stimulate the economy of Grenada.
The airport is used as a recurring site for military training, but when operations were to begin equipment had to be carried in each time which lead to maintenance issues during long term stays, said Lt. Col. Ashley Sullivan, commander of the 2nd Battalion, 185th Aviation Brigade.
Due to the annex and available space, infrastructure is planned to be built that provides a permanent station to maintain the Mississippi National Guard’s equipment.
It’s a large enough area to be able to house equipment, yet this infrastructure will not interfere with the civilian or local traffic at all, said Sullivan.
The annex is not only beneficial to the airport due federal funding, but it is also necessary for the long term operations of the Mississippi National Guard. Federal Aviation Administration guidelines dictate that the equipment used by the 2nd Battalion, 185th Aviation Brigade cannot be used near large airports because of functional conflicts. Therefore, the unit is restricted to operating at full capacity either in Grenada or New Albany, Mississippi.
The airport is already seeing military use during the training exercise known as Ardent Sentry which is taking place at Camp McCain, and the equipment is running at full capacity to receive aircraft vital to the exercise. Ardent Sentry is a North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command exercise focused on defense support of civil authorities during a simulated New Madrid Seismic Zone earthquake.
In addition to exercises, the capabilities provided by the annex promote Camp McCain’s readiness to respond to emergencies and execute missions, while supporting cooperation between the military and its local partners.