The city of Del Rio, Val Verde County and Laughlin Air Force Base last month signed agreements allowing service members to use the county sheriff’s firing range and one establishing an aircraft maintenance certification program at a local junior college.
Both would enhance the mission at the Texas base located less than 10 miles from the Mexican border.
“This is unprecedented, we’ve never done this before,” said Col. Brian Hastings, 47th Flying Training Wing commander.
The first agreement will enable Laughlin members to use the Val Verde County Sheriff’s office firing range for training purposes, reported 47th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs.
The other initiative will spearhead an aircraft maintenance program at Southwest Texas Junior College.
“Laughlin has a shortage of maintainers,” said Anthony Kusenberger, president of the Del Rio Chamber of Commerce. “So if we are able to fill 66 of those empty positions, it will generate $2.5 million of payroll that much of will be spent locally. So this is the kind of win-win scenario this partnership is all about. Laughlin gets positions filled and it benefits our economy,” Kusenberger said.
Officials at Laughlin emphasized that the new agreements represented the beginning of a closer relationship between the installation and its hosts aimed at doing things more efficiently.
“The initiatives that we agreed to are just the start,” said Lt. Col. Chris Lundy, deputy commander of the 47th Mission Support Group. “There are so many more in the works, as our communities work together to improve life for all of us,” Lundy said.