As president of the DM50, one often has the opportunity to meet with Air Force leadership to learn about the many assets connected to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.
One of these meetings occurred recently with Brig. Gen. Steven J. Bleymaier, the commander of the Air Logistic Complex in Ogden, Utah, and Lt. Col. Mark Hirselj, the deputy commander of the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (309 AMARG), historically referred to as the “boneyard,” at D-M.
I felt the information they provided should be shared with the entire Tucson community — it is that powerful.
As a DM50 organization, we take very seriously the multifaceted asset Davis-Monthan AFB represents for the Air Force. D-M is not just a fighter base; it includes nine additional tenant units and key federal agencies, like the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Patrol.
Today we are highlighting one of the most visible and important anchor elements of Davis-Monthan AFB. Established in 1946, this one-of-a-kind facility is the world’s largest long-term storage facility, and makes D-M a pillar of economic and national security in which the entire city of Tucson should take great pride.
The 309 AMARG is part of Air Force Sustainment Center’s Ogden Air Logistics Complex, making it a key provider of US Air Force logistics efforts supporting units around the world. AMARG truly is a “national air power reservoir” valued at $34 billion for the U.S. government.
Although it is known for storage and disposal on its 2,600- acre area and 500,000-plus square feet of industrial space, in reality AMARG’s 807 employees do much more than that with the more than 4.000 aircraft and 80 different airframes housed on AMARG real estate.
The skilled artisans reclaim and refurbish about 6,000 parts per year for the Department of Defense and other government agencies; they modify active aircraft like the A-10, upgrading radios to improve combat functionality; they also upgrade aircraft elements like C-130 wing sets, and regenerate entire aircraft like “Ghost Rider,” a B-52H that needed to be put back in operation after an active B-52 was damaged beyond economical repair.
And this is not just a facility for U.S. Air Force airframes. It has also regenerated 23 US Marines F-18s, nine C-27s for the U.S. Coast Guard, nine C-23Cs for the U.S. Forest Service, and two C-130s for U.S. government sale to the Philippines, along with F-4s and now F-16s for the QF drone program.
The list of unique accomplishments goes on and on along with the savings to the Department of Defense, many U.S. government Agencies, and the local businesses they support.
In addition to the multifaceted mission, AMARG is also a significant partner in the greater Tucson region. It is a partner with the Pima Air Museum and supports 40,000-plus tourist visitors a year. It has served as a background for numerous television and movie productions.
Additionally, AMARG’s dynamic mission means it is always working to recruit skilled members from our local educational institutions, and seek local support with our local business and civic groups.
Tucsonans can be proud of our 800-plus neighbors who work at AMARG. They have enhanced the reputation of their facility, making the term “boneyard” obsolete.
We need to recognize that AMARG is “America’s air power reservoir,” allowing our nation to adjust to security threats and fiscal realities. It is one of the pillars of the reputation that our city enjoys as a critical center of US national security efforts.