- Associated Press - Friday, October 30, 2015

PERU, Ind. (AP) - Grissom Air Reserve Base has been passed over as the home for a new fleet of aerial tankers.

The base north of Kokomo was one of four finalists as the host for the reserve-led KC-46As, the Peru Tribune reports. But the U.S. Air Force said in a news release Thursday that Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in eastern North Carolina had been chosen as preferred host, with the aircraft expected to arrive in 2019.

Members of Congress from Indiana met with Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James in June to talk about the aerial tanker coming to Grissom, the South Bend Tribune reports. U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, R-Ind., and Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Indiana, said they were disappointed by Grissom not getting picked.

Jennifer Miller, the Air Force deputy assistant secretary for installations, said in the news release that the North Carolina base was chosen based on cost, site surveys, operational analysis and “military judgment factors.”

The Air Force deemed Grissom and two others “reasonable alternatives.” Miller said a final decision will be made after an environmental impact analysis. Evaluation for reasonable alternatives will continue during that process, the Air Force said.

According to the Air Force, future decisions about locations for KC-46As would use similar criteria, and candidates this time would likely compete again.

Jim Tidd, executive director of the Miami County Economic Development Authority, said accommodations will be made to improve Grissom’s chances next time around.

“We’re appreciative that we were in the top four,” Tidd said. “I think that speaks well of Grissom when you look at the reserve bases throughout the U.S.”

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