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Ceremony marks tanker construction at McConnell

WICHITA, Kansas  McConnell Air Force Base is celebrating the start of a construction project that will prepare it for a new role as the main operating base for KC-46A air refueling tankers.

Among elected officials taking part in Monday's groundbreaking for the $219 million project at the Wichita installation was congressman Mike Pompeo. His Republican primary opponent, former congressman Todd Tiahrt, has criticized Pompeo's vote against the spending bill which funded the project.

Pompeo defended that vote Monday. He says the decision to bring the tankers to Wichita was made long before the appropriations vote.

"It's that community and the work that we did to preserve everything this Air Force base needed to have these young men and women flying all around the world to keep us safe.  There's no doubt why that decision was made," said Pompeo.

Pompeo says he knew McConnell would get the tankers anyway, so he voted against that bill because it also cut veterans' benefits.

McConnell will be the first active duty-led main operating base for the aircraft.



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