185th Has $79 Million Dollar Impact on Siouxland

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Vincent De Groot
  • 185 ARW

The recently released annual Economic Impact Statement of the Iowa Air National Guard's 185th Air Refueling Wing (ARW) in Sioux City, Iowa shows that it ranks among the top ten employers in the Western Iowa enclave. The annual report also shows that the Air Guard Wing has an overall economic Impact of nearly $80 million dollars in Siouxland. 


According to the statement the National Guard Air Wing headquartered at the Sioux City Airport, entered 2014 with 390 full time and 956 part time jobs.  While many of those employed with the 185th work in aircraft maintenance and air operations, most members of the organization are employed as part of a large support staff that provide the kinds of services found in a small town.  Jobs in the medical professions, fire protection, structural maintenance, logistics, supply and food service are just a few of the professions found with the Air Guard in Sioux City.


The Sioux City unit has a fleet of eight, KC-135 air refueling aircraft that are primarily used for midair refueling, but are also regularly used for air transport and medical evacuation missions. In the unit's mission statement it says the 185th also plays a crucial role in providing humanitarian and national disaster response during state or national emergencies.


"This is what makes the guard unique, the fact that we provide a federal and state role, and because we are largely a part time force we are able to do it, while saving a significant about of taxpayer dollars" said Col Brian Miller 185th Wing Commander.


The economic impact on the region reaches much farther than just Sioux City. In the past year the 185th gained the Iowa Air Guard's test squadron located in Fort Dodge, Iowa, as a subordinate unit under the 185th Operations Group, with its 140 full and part time jobs.


The statement also says that many college students, who are active members of the unit, were paid $3.1 million dollars in college benefits while attending area colleges and trade schools in the past year.


The total payroll for the 185th topped out at 48.5 million, most of that is paid as wages however the unit has a large number of people who live in the area who also receive retirement benefits. Retirement benefits are paid to both, former full time and part time employees most of whom live throughout the tri-state area of Iowa, South Dakota and Nebraska.


The statement offers highlights of unit activities along with more detailed statistics concerning the impact the Air Guard has in Sioux City. A full color electronic version of the statement can be viewed on the 185th public website.



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