BILOXI — Keesler Air Force Base’s total economic impact for fiscal year 2013 was more than $1.1 billion.
The figure was finalized as base officials completed the annual process of data assimilation and validation.
In addition to employee payroll figures and construction and purchases ($592 million), the total economic impact includes military retiree pay and the value of volunteer services as well as jobs indirectly created on the Gulf Coast.
Keesler currently employs 11,257 people, including nearly 7,736 military positions. In addition, the base’s presence created more than 3,775 local and contract jobs.
As one of the Air Force’s major training centers, on any given day 3,000-4,000 students train at Keesler in more than 400 courses in technical subjects such as medical, personnel, airfield management, weather forecasting, air traffic control and cyber training.
“Keesler’s job is to train airmen across the spectrum of warfighting skills and deliver overwhelming combat power for the Air Force,” said Brig. Gen. Patrick Higby, commander, 81st Training Wing. “Last year we graduated over 28,000 airmen, coalition and joint service personnel to meet our mission goals.”
In addition, 177, 386 hours were volunteered by Keesler members in fiscal year 2013 to coast community projects and organizations, including the Boys and Girls Club, Habitat for Humanity and the American Red Cross. Each year, Keesler also hosts the Mississippi State Special Olympics Summer Games, accommodating more than 800 athletes and coaches from across the state. Thousands of Keesler volunteers serve the games in every capacity from team partners to timekeepers.
“We understand the importance of building strong community relationships in order to achieve our mission.” said Higby. “The Mississippi Gulf Coast is a great place to be and the men and women of Keesler Air Force Base are proud to be part of this community.”