Leaders in San Angelo, Texas, and Goodfellow Air Force Base are confident a $2.0 million grant the Texas Military Preparedness Commission awarded Tom Green County earlier this year will help protect the installation from possible closure.
The grant, recently approved by the county commissioners’ court, will be used to renovate two buildings needed to house Goodfellow’s advanced international training program.
The building that will become the International Training Center will be outfitted with technology necessary to train personnel from foreign nations in surveillance, intelligence and related fields. “The International Training Center will be the cornerstone of our ability to conduct that training,” Col. Michael Downs, commander of the 17th Training Wing, told San Angelo Live.
The base plans to train between 130 and 200 military students from more than 30 countries annually. The training center’s renovations should be completed next summer.
The state grant was critical as another base was prepared to house the international training program, said Carol Ann Bonds, San Angelo’s representative on the Texas Military Preparedness Commission. Goodfellow has been threatened in past BRAC rounds, but community support helped stave off closure.
“It is not something once you survive one of those that you can breathe and know that you’ve won and you quit doing things to improve the base for future BRACs,” Bonds said.
The second building slated for renovation will serve as a center for foreign and U.S. military personnel to interact.
The best way San Angelo residents can support Goodfellow, Bonds said, is by reaching out to its international students to offer them “a good American experience.”
“I think this community doesn’t need much begging to support Goodfellow,” she said.