Knowing that the , located at in Westhampton, plays an important role in emergency situations, Suffolk County is looking to garner funds to "enhance the Rescue Wing’s ability to communicate with local, county and state emergency responders during local and national emergencies."
In a statement to the media on Wednesday, County Executive Steve Bellone said the the county has applied for a a $126,000 matching grant under the New York State Empire State Development Corporation (NYESD) Military Base Retention Grant Program that will help fund the purchase of an array of communication equipment. The grant would fund two wide band radio base stations with accessories, batteries, specialized antenna, chargers, multiband LMR and GPS microphones, mobile chargers, and vehicle antennae, which Bellone says is needed for the base members to carry out their mission.
Enhanced communication will not only help in emergency situations, said Bellone, but it will also help safeguard the future of the base.
According to Bellone, the equipment will "enhance the competitiveness of the base during the next round of federal base realignments and closures expected in future defense budget cuts."
Bellone says that recent studies indicate that 1,146 full and part-time jobs and $89.2 million in expenditures are a direct result of Gabreski’s on-airport business.
"This base provides jobs, training and a career path for many men and women in the local community. These highly skilled military jobs must stay in Suffolk," said Bellone.
According to Bellone, the county will fund its portion of the matching grant using funds generated though lease revenue from the , an industrial park on airport grounds, which just .
"The 106th Rescue Wing is very fortunate to have extremely strong and committed partnerships with Suffolk County and our greater Long Island communities,” said Thomas J. Owens II Colonel, NYANG, commander, 106th Rescue Wing.
“As we continue to provide personnel recovery and expeditionary combat capability in the defense of our nation and in support of the people of New York, it is reassuring to know the historical roots of our militia construct are secure right here at home."