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Coastal Bend Region’s Defense Industry Strengthens Economy

Maintaining a strong national defense helps maintain a strong economy in the Coastal Bend, home to military installations that continue to attract investment and missions even in an era of declining military spending.

By Gary Wollenhaupt on September 2, 2014

Maintaining a strong national defense helps keep the economy vibrant in the Coastal Bend Region, home to military installations that continue to attract investment and missions in an era of declining military spending.

The Corpus Christi Army Depot is home to a new, $34.2 million Aircraft Corrosion Control Facility that will meet the painting requirements of the Army’s fleet of UH-60 Black Hawk, CH-47D Chinook and AH-64 Apache helicopters.

CCAD also houses a program to boost the life span, technology and capabilities of the Army’s 2,000-plus Black Hawk helicopters. The program extends the life of each helicopter by 10 years, and adds to the capabilities of the aircraft. Its goal is to avoid the cost of replacing aging helicopters, saving taxpayers approximately $12 million with each rebuilt aircraft.

Over the past decade, CCAD has saved taxpayers more than $20 billion through its programs, and its record of churning Black Hawks out better and faster than ever before earned the depot the prestigious Robert T. Mason Award for Depot Maintenance Excellence from the Department of Defense in 2013.

The depot’s new painting facility is a smart investment for the Army, says John Nerger, Executive Deputy to the Commanding General of Army Materiel Command.

“The Army and the American taxpayers will get their money’s worth out of this facility and, most importantly, will be able to provide even better support for the soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen who get to do their job better because of the work that’s done here,” Nerger says.

CCAD has an overall economic impact of $2.4 billion on the region and is a major job creator. The base has a total civilian and military workforce of 5,085 personnel and an annual payroll of $631 million, says public affairs specialist Brigitte Rox.

Naval Air Station Kingsville trains half of the Navy and Marine Corps’ jet-strike aviators, with about 200 student aviators arriving at the base each year.

The base, which has a population of about 1,650, brings an annual economic impact of $600 million to Kleberg County and an additional $200 million to Nueces County.

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