...It’s a big deal for any operation when it doubles in size. And that’s what’s in
the works for a National Guard helicopter repair facility in Gulfport, Miss.
...The Army National Guard’s 1108th Aviation Classification Repair Activity
Depot, on the east side of Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport, is a 140,000
square-foot facility that does maintenance, repairs and overhaul work on
about 350 helicopters a year. Work performed includes airframe and
component repair, as well as painting.
...It has 192 full-time personnel, 113 of them uniformed. Within those
numbers are 75 contractors and four state workers. As a National Guard unit,
there’s also the influx of personnel who do not work there full time but kick
the number of workers up by another 205 uniformed men and women who
work at the AVCRAD part-time.
...The depot, one of only for such National Guard facilities nationwide,
provides intermediate level and limited depot level maintenance to Army
National Guard aircraft throughout the nine Southeastern United States, the U.
S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
...The AVCRAD also performs work in special projects and deploys to
...The AVCRAD takes up 35 acres at the Trent Lott National Guard Training
Complex and is co-located with the Air National Guard’s Combat Readiness
Training Center. The AVCRAD includes a main hangar, paint hangar, supply
warehouse, motor pool, blade/machine shop and engine shop.
...The current $6.5 million facility was built in 1988, but plans are under way
to build a facility twice as large with updated features for an estimated cost of
$103 million. Plans are to begin the project in 2012, but the date can change.
...The depot performs work on the OH-58C and OH-58D Kiowa Warrior,
UH-60 Blackhawk, CH-47 Chinook and the AH-64 Apache.
...In addition to all the hands-on work with helicopters, the AVCRAD also
provides year round, in-house training for National Guard soldiers from
throughout the United States. In the most recent fiscal year, it hosted over 100
soldiers for two-week periods of training.
...The AVCRAD also hosts an annual workshop at the IP Casino every
March. This year there were about 250 in attendance. Some attendees bring
their families and make this vacation time which generates additional monies
for the Gulf Coast. - David Tortorano
Aviation depot: Unique and growing