Gilich, others host Air Force inspection group

Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich underscored Biloxi’s strong support for, and commitment to Keesler AFB’s mission Tuesday night when he hosted a dinner at Mary Mahoney’s for visiting U.S. Air Force dignitaries.

Gilich, Chief of Civic Innovation & Development Cliff Kirkland and City Attorney Gerald Blessey used the occasion to lobby a site review team that will help determine whether Keesler or one of seven other air bases will be chosen as the location for a consolidated Battlefield Airman Training Program.

“What better way to show off Biloxi than to share some fresh gulf seafood at one of our iconic restaurants?” Gilich said.

Gilich and Keesler Commander Col. Michele Edmondson shared with the seven-member site review team stories of Biloxi’s and Keesler’s long history of working together.

Gilich also enlisted the help of former Keesler Commanders and retired Lt. Generals Clark Griffith and Mike Peterson, and retired Air Force Reserve Brig. General Joe Spraggins to explain the strong bond between the military and the community.

The site review team completed its preliminary review of facilities at Keesler Wednesday, and will return next Spring for a final survey before making a recommendation to the Air Force by the end of 2017.

“Keesler already provides quality battlefield training for airman in several disciplines,” Gilich added. “We’re optimistic that the review team will come to realize Keesler is the logical choice for consolidated training.”