McConnell AFB ranked near bottom of list

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Wichita, Kan. --- McConnell Air Force Base ranked as one of the worst bases in an Air Force Times listing.

The Air Force Times,a Gannett Company publication, listed the best and worst bases for Airmen to be stationed at.

Based on the Air Force Times criteria, McConnell came in a tie for third worst out of 68 bases. The tie was with Columbus Base in Mississippi.

"It's just pathetic that this survey came out like this," says Jack Pulley, President of the group 'Friends of McConnell.'

Pulley takes issue with the criteria the Air Force Times used. "Their criteria was totally different on high crime and things that really aren't relevant to how happy the people are at McConnell Air Force Base who live in Wichita, Kansas."

The Air Force Times points to disappointing schools, higher than average crime rates and high taxes to put McConnell near the bottom.

Pulley says he's heard Airmen first dread getting stationed at McConnell until they get here.

"And when they get here and they see how friendly the people are and what the Midwest is really like, the low cost of living, they're always glad to be here and hate to leave when they have to leave and that is the truth."

Pulley says McConnell obviously ranks high with the Air Force or else it wouldn't have been selected as the Main Operating Base for the new KC-46 tanker.

Pulley says, "I talked to Colonel Jackson today and he's as alarmed and as upset as I am."

McConnell Wing Commander Col. Joel Jackson says the base stands out "as the runner-up for the 2013 Commander-in-Chief's Annual Award for Installation Excellence, which recognizes DoD's exemplary base."

Derby's Community Marketing Director Jennifer Keller says the ranking is different from what she hears from McConnell families.

Keller says, "We have military families that come into the welcome center that are excited to be here and some of them have worked in.. even 20 different locations they've lived in and are excited about coming here to Derby."

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