Grayson Airport Lands Training Facility

4-13-06 - The Grayson County Airport is going back to its military roots. A multi-million-dollar company is planting their headquarters at the old Perrin Airfield. The move will bring hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars to Texoma.

By the end of the month F-16s will be just one of the large military aircraft you may see buzzing around Denison. Military pilots from all over the country will soon be coming here to train.

Crews were already hammering away Thursday afternoon on the new headquarters for the international tactical training center.

Charles Searock, ITTC President, says, "It's a perfect place for us, center of the country, close to training ranges and under utilized as an airport."

Two and a half acres will soon be devoted to flight training for civilian and military pilots. The company is a private service outsourcing contracts from the U.S. Department of Defense and ally countries, which means plenty of new sights flying high in the sky.

Victor Miller, Project Manager, says, "Russian MIGs, SU-27s, IL-78s, which really dwarfs most airplanes, it's so big we don't have a hanger to put it in. People are gonna see that in the sky and get excited."

And the airport is excited about what's in store; the control tower will be operating again, runways will be improved and more fire and rescue personnel are being brought on board. Not to mention the positive impact for the entire county.

Mike Shahan, Airport Director, says, "We'll have pilots coming in from all over to spend six to eight weeks, and they're spending their dollars here basically as tourists by eating out, staying at hotels, renting condos, basically having fun while they're working."

You could call it a flight plan heading in the right direction. From pilots, mechanics, ground crew, and administrative personnel, the company is looking to hire more than 200 new employees. Another 25,000 square foot hanger is also being built to hold more aircraft.

The company operates one other similar facility in Jacksonville, Florida.