AR Briefly

Central Arkansas cities, counties forming panel to support Little Rock Air Force Base

By: - April 27, 2023 3:24 pm

(Photo by Master Sgt. Donald R. Allen/U.S. Air Forces Europe-Africa via Getty Images)

A handful of local governments in Central Arkansas are trying to band together to support the Little Rock Air Force Base’s mission.

The first-of-its-kind interlocal agreement — expected to ultimately include Pulaski, Faulkner, Lonoke and White counties as well as the cities of Austin, Cabot, Jacksonville, Maumelle, North Little Rock, Sherwood and Ward — seeks to ensure that development around LRAFB remains consistent with the air base’s mission.

The Pulaski County Quorum Court unanimously passed an ordinance in support of the pact this week, joining Sherwood, Cabot, Austin and Jacksonville, which have approved ordinances of their own.

The collaboration spawned out of the county’s participation in a U.S. Department of Defense-funded conditional use study of LRAFB, which recommended consistency in the base’s present mission

The interlocal agreement is said to be the first in the U.S. in which local jurisdictions took the initiative to form a group to drive local development around a military base.

“The creation of the LRAFB Regional Planning Committee demonstrates that Central Arkansas is committed to the continued presence and success of the LRAFB, and its commitment is more than lip service–it is tangible,” said Pulaski County Attorney Adam Fogleman.

LRAFB is the home of the C-130 and holds the largest fleet of the cargo aircraft in the world. The 19th Airlift Wing — the base’s host wing — has responsibilities that range from supplying humanitarian relief to disaster zones, to airdropping supplies and troops into the heart of combat areas.

The base also hosts the 314th Airlift Wing, which trains C-130 crews from other service branches and 47 partner countries; the Arkansas National Guard’s 189th Airlift Wing, which provides C-130H training and responds to state emergencies; and the 913th Airlift Group, a reserve component that provides global combat airlift support.

The base opened in 1955 and its missions have changed over the years, from bombers and reconnaissance to missiles and cargo.

The committee will officially form once the remaining governing bodies sign off.

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