SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – After years of planning and months of construction, a true cooperative partnership to reimagine the front door to the home of the Air Force’s combat capability was commemorated April 2, 2021, during a ceremony here.
The nearly $9 million Main Gate project was the result of local, state and federal dollars working together to provide a remarkable first impression to the Air Force’s largest and most diverse technical and pilot training installation. Representatives from the three levels of government as well as base and civic leaders were on hand to recognize and celebrate the unique and monumental effort.
The multi-year project was more than just creating dazzling curb appeal, though. The venture was the culmination of two projects: the first to remove a public eyesore and security threat to the installation in the way of a motel and hotel adjacent to the installation, and the second to rebuild the Main Gate entrance. Both enhanced installation security and force protection.
Brig. Gen. Kenyon Bell, 82nd Training Wing and installation commander, said that while the project started under different Sheppard leadership years ago, he is proud to be the “clean-up guy” to see the beautification and force protection undertaking come to fruition.
“When you talk about that security risk – and my wife, Lori, will attest – I normally don’t have any problems falling asleep at night. I put my head on my pillow and I’m out,” he said. “But when you think about what used to be over here (off base) and what we have behind this fence line and what we train, that will make someone lose some sleep at night. So, I’m especially thankful for the security upgrades you’ve given us.”
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