The Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base (NAS Fort Worth JRB), one of the top economic drivers for North Texas since 1994, has been selected the 2018 recipient of the Fort Worth Chamber’s Vandergriff Award.
The annual award, established in 2011 in memory of Tarrant County Judge Tom Vandergriff, honors a legacy individual or organization whose contributions positively impact Tarrant County on a national scale. The award will be presented during the Chamber’s State of the County event Wednesday, Sept. 5 at the Worthington Renaissance Fort Worth Hotel.
“The very foundation of Fort Worth was a military objective – the fort where the west began – and our residents are proud of that history,” said Bill Thornton, president and CEO of the Fort Worth Chamber. “The NAS Fort Worth JRB continues that heritage not only by serving our national security, but also by employing more than 10,000 exceptional service members and serving as a top-tier economic driver for our region.”
The Chamber’s close association with the base dates to 1941, when the Chamber landed the bomber assembly plant and the Army Air Corps wanted an adjacent airfield. The Chamber worked with elected officials and others to protect and strengthen the base as it went through various stages, including Carswell Air Force Base and now, the NAS Fort Worth JRB. During its lifetime, under various names, the base has been owned and operated by the Navy, Army and Air Force.
Today, it is part of Navy Installations Command (CNIC), under the oversight of Captain Jonathan R. Townsend, Commander, Navy Region Southeast. He is the 12th Commanding Officer since the installation was established as the nation’s first joint reserve base.
“I was surprised and honored when I heard the Chamber of Commerce selected Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base to receive this year’s Vandergriff Award,” Captain Townsend said. “We at NAS Fort Worth value the support we receive from the surrounding community as it has proved to continuously assist us in our mission accomplishment of a ready military force.
“I hold our relationship with the community amongst the highest of my personal priorities and am extremely grateful for the opportunities we have to work alongside such great community members and leaders.”
First known as Tarrant Field Airdrome in 1932, then Fort Worth Army Field and later Carswell Air Force Base, the base became Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base in October 1994.
Within its 2,300 acres, there are approximately 40 separate commands and 10,200 active duty, guard and reserve, and civilian employees, making it one of Fort Worth’s major employers. NAS Fort Worth JRB consists of six air squadrons that are part of the Navy, Marines, Army, Air Force and Texas Air National Guard, and houses aircrafts such as the F-18, F-16 and C-130.
According to the Texas Comptroller, the economic impact of the base is more than 47,000 jobs with a gross of $4.3 billion in domestic product and approximately $2.5 billion in aviation assets. Including co-located facilities, the impact is $6.6 billion.
Its mission is to “provide unsurpassed support and quality training for the Reserve and Guard ‘war fighters’ in all branches of the Armed Services. It also supports the needs of their families during all phases of training and deployment.”
In the community, base reserves provide funeral honors, a color guard for various sporting and ceremonial events, and local school partnerships during which service members volunteer every week.
Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley will keynote the State of the County luncheon, which is presented by Ciera Bank.