Stennis International Airport offers variety of assets for Department of Defense training exercises

August 1, 2014

Stennis International Airport hosts military exercises on a regular basis, offering facilities that allow troops to train over water and forest land within the protective NASA buffer zone. The unique combination of assets makes the airport ideal for military training for troops from nearby bases to troops stationed around the country. "The Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission management and staff of Stennis International Airport are proud to support the United States military," said Bill Cotter, the airport director. Cotter said the Naval Special Warfare Command based at Stennis Space Center deploys troops during training at the airport and C­130s from Keesler Air Force Base conduct cargo drops and Night Vision Google operations at Stennis. U.S. Marine Corps helicopters from New Orleans use the airport as a refueling point on their way to aerial gunnery practice at Camp Shelby in Hattiesburg. U.S. Air Force pilots from the Florida Panhandle, U.S. Marines from Mobile, Ala., and U.S. Army soldiers from around the country come to Stennis International regularly for their training. In May, Marines from throughout the United States came to Stennis Airport to conduct various airborne training exercises as part of Operation Emerald Warrior, a USAF Special Operations Command event. "Hancock County gives military aviators the opportunity to hone their skills over water, forest and an airport in blacked­out conditions," said Cotter. The airport is located within the John C. Stennis Space Center's noise and vibration buffer zone with little ambient light north, south and west of the airfield. Cotter said the newly constructed 125­acre drop zone and confined helicopter landing zones allow military use of the buffer zone in support of national defense while protecting the integrity of NASA's mission. Million Air, the airport's fixed base operator, provides Department of Defense fuel to government aircraft. 

#Aerospace, #Military, #Stennis International Airport