Tennessee ANG Base Opens

The Tennessee Air National Guard’s 164th Airlift Wing opened its new $245 million facility at the southeast corner of Memphis International Airport on Sept. 6. Dignitaries including Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen (D) and Gen. Norton Schwartz, Chief of Staff, attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the 118-acre, state-of-the-art facility, which Air Guard officials say is one of the largest ANG building projects ever. “What we are dedicating here today, simply put, is the most technically and physically advanced Air Guard Base in the United States of America,” said Arnold Perl, chairman of the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority, the Memphis Commercial Appeal reported Sept. 7. The facility will serve as home to the nine C-5A transports that the wing has been operating since late 2004. Among its features are 28 acres of 14-inch thick pavement to park the C-5As and three massive hangars that encompass 320,000 square feet, the wing said in a release earlier this month. The unit anticipates moving into the new complex in the coming weeks. Construction of the facility began in June 2006 in a collaborative effort among DOD, Tennessee ANG, Federal Express, and the airport authority. FedEx contributed $77 million to the project and will add the 164th AW’s old 103-acre facility to its operation. Previously, the wing flew the smaller C-141 transports, which needed less hangar and ramp space.