20th annual ‘State of the Base’ conference showcases upgrades to Dover Airforce base

DOVER, Del. – Today in Dover, Air force officials, lawmakers, and stakeholders gathered at Del Tech for the annual State of the Base conference. Although they’ve made quite a bit of progress recently, they also faced some challenges.

During Monday’s state of the base conference, officials showcased some of the projects happening at the Dover Air Force base, including a new training course designed with both mental and physical obstacles in mind.

“You execute on your legacy missions in ways that are truly impressive,” says Senator Chris Coons.

The 20th annual state of the base conference highlighted projects at the Dover air force base. Officials say many of their recent initiatives take a holistic approach towards preparing airmen including a new training course.

Colonel Wing Commander for the 436th Airlift, Matthew Jones says, “what it really gave us us was an opportunity to practice for what we think warfare might be like in the future.”

Another new addition within the last year, is this innovation lab, known as the Bedrock building. It’s a space that provides opportunities such as 3-D printing, virtual reality technology, spaces to collaborate, and a venue to host events like Ted Talks.

“We have to get out of our stove pike hierarchical organizations and we have to have folks with the best idea, let that idea prevail,” says Col. Jones.

At the conference, officials also discussed the new fuel cell hangar, and connecting historically black colleges to the air force base, in order to increase diversity.
We’re told many of these additions wouldn’t have been possible without the support of countless people and organizations.

Colonel G. Brian Eddy, Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations say, “the folks that we have whether it’s in the US or the friends of the fallen, make it a real opportunity for us to meet our mission because we just don’t have enough folks to do this.”

We’re also told, the base had quite a few challenges to overcome this year, including some water contamination of nearby wells, due to fire fighting chemicals.
They’ve also had to rethink training during a pandemic, but they feel confident moving forward.

“I think the biggest takeaway is just watching the state of the base, that hybrid compromise. We continue to protect those most at risk, but we still have to get on with our lives,” says Col. Jones.

Officials say a school is being constructed here on Dover Air Force base, and should be done by May of 2022.

Officials also say that after 20 years, it was important to keep the tradition of the conference, even in the midst of a pandemic, but made virtual accommodations to keep those at risk safe. Today’s ‘State of the Base’ was hosted by the Central Delaware Chamber of Commerce.

Categories: Delaware, Local News