November 28, 2023

Greater Peoria: At the Heart of National Defense and Economic Vitality

In the vibrant city of Peoria, the hum of aircraft is a testament to a proud legacy and a promising future. Nestled within the General Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport, the Peoria Air Force Guard base is a symbol of strength and economic opportunity. Here, the 182nd Airlift Wing of the Illinois Air National Guard operates with precision and purpose, entrusted with the Air Mobility Command’s vital C-130H Hercules cargo aircraft.

A new chapter is unfolding as the Department of Defense authorizes the arrival of eight state-of-the-art C-130J Hercules aircraft, signifying a leap forward in operational capability and reaffirming the base’s pivotal role in America’s military might.

The airport’s dual identity as a military hub and civilian gateway also houses the Illinois Army National Guard’s Army Aviation Support Facility No. 3 and the 1st Battalion, 106 Aviation Regiment, where the thunderous Boeing CH-47 “Chinook” helicopters are a powerful reminder of the might and reach of our armed forces.

Beyond the roar of engines and the sweep of rotor blades, the economic heartbeat of Peoria thrives. The base itself is a substantial employer, with active duty, civilian, National Guard, and Reserve personnel making up a workforce of over 2,400 individuals. Their collective effort translates into a remarkable $74.4 million payroll injection into the local economy for FY 2022.

Further amplifying Peoria’s economic pulse, defense contracts flow into the region, reaching an impressive $161.7 million for the same fiscal period. This influx places Peoria at the forefront of Illinois’s defense economy, showcasing the city’s strategic significance in the broader national defense landscape.

The story of Peoria is one of resilience, innovation, and unwavering commitment to both nation and community. It’s a tale of how the guardians of our skies bolster the guardians of our local economy, creating a synergy where security and prosperity fly in unison. Dive into the full narrative of Peoria’s role in national defense and its economic impact in our comprehensive blog post.