On its website, the Wichita Chamber of Commerce appears to underestimate the number of military personnel assigned at McConnell Air Force Base by well over a thousand people.
When I first heard about this situation, I was somewhat surprised, because the Wichita Chamber of Commerce maintain very close civic relations with the base, through its Honorary Commander Program and the Friends of McConnell organization.
The chamber also employs a VP for government relations, Barby Jobe whose job it is to know these things.
The chamber reports that McConnell employs about “2470 active duty military personnel. With total employment of active duty National Guard, Reserve and civilian employee at 4922” (source: http://www.wichitakansas.org/government_relations-military_presence.php ).
These figures appear to be way too low.
According to one source, “McConnell has a total work force of around 5,250 with approximately 2,700 active duty members, 650 civilians, and around 1,900 reservists and National Guard Members. The base also has 3,090 family members and serves approximately 7,240 Military Retirees in the local area”, source: Installation Overview -McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas http://usmilitary.about.com/od/airforcebaseprofiles/ss/McConnell_4.htm ).
Another source indicated that “McConnell has a total work force of 6552 with approximately 3250 active duty members, 915 civilians, and 1900 Reservist and National Guard members. The base also has 3090 family members and serves approximately 9000 military retirees in the local area (source: http://www.militaryinstallations.dod.mil/pls/psgprod/f?p=132:CONTENT:0::NO::P4_INST_ID,P4_INST_TYPE:2680,INSTALLATION ).
An airman at McConnell (who asked not to be identified in this report) indicated that “McConnell is a dynamic place, a city within a city, with personnel coming and going all the time.”
In addition, he said “you have families of service members moving in and out on an almost constant bases, because of various deployments and reassignments – therefore an exact estimate of population figures at the base will often differ in terms of hundreds of people.”
The airman was however surprised to learn the figures vary not by hundreds but thousands, depending on where you look (even on military sponsored and affiliated websites).
See video: McConnell AFB 2010 Air Show Thunderbirds http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JiQrfue5ZN0
See video: B-2 Stealth Bomber at McConnell Air Force Base http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIjlleBXZw4