If Keesler Air Force Base was a city, its population base would rival Biloxi's. The base has more than 40,000 military personnel, civilian workers, families, and retirees.
At the Biloxi Chamber's Morning Call breakfast, Keesler General Michael Peterson said the base is meeting its training mission.
"As the Air Force changed over the past decade," the general said, "we tried to consolidate our technical training and key centers of excellence. Keesler is one of those. You're going to see nothing but growth out of our mission here over the next, well for the foreseeable future."
During the general's power point presentation, he said future growth includes new dorms, and new military housing. He also told the Biloxi chamber the future could include a new Division Street entrance, so military personnel and Biloxi residents who use I-110 have more access to the base.
"Really what I think we have to talk about is growing together over the next 50 years," Gen. Peterson said, "because you know, I intend for Keesler Air Force Base to be part of this community for a long, long time."
Gen. Peterson is a native Biloxian. Right after he received two prints that show off the rich history of his hometown, he told the Morning Call group that Keesler Air Force Base is proud to be a partner with Biloxi and the surrounding communities.
According to General Peterson's State of Keesler report, as many as 5,000 students train at base everyday. And the military and civilian personnel who work at Keesler make almost $400 million a year.