| New Life Along an Old Stream
This speech was delivered by Boeing President Harry C. Stonecipher at the dedication
of the Boeing Aerospace Support Center at Kelly Air Force Base in Texas on August 12,
1998. The audience included Texas Governor Bush and members of the Texas Congressional
Time, said Thoreau, is the stream I go fishing in.
That is a nice thought on this occasion.
When you think of a stream, you think of a renewable resource -- one that will continue to
support homes, and farms, and fishing . . . as long as the people who live and play along
its banks continue to treat the stream with care and respect.
In the time-stream of history, the banks cut by the aerospace industry in state of Texas
are long and deep.
One of your cities, home to the Johnson Space Center, is famous around the world for the
telephone calls it has taken from outer space. Everyone remembers the words, The
Eagle has landed. Just as vividly, in recalling one of the great rescue operations
of all time, people remember the words -- Houston, we have a problem.
The Dallas-Fort Worth area is home to two of our greatest airlines -- American, which
moved there in 1979, and Southwest, which is, in a cultural as well as an economic sense,
one of your states biggest exporters.
All three U.S. military services have major air bases in Texas. There is the Army Air Base
at Fort Hood, outside Austin. There are Naval Air Stations in Corpus Christi, Kingsville
And right here, side by side in the San Antonio area, you have Kelly Air Force Base -- as
part of the Materials Command -- and Lackland Air Force Base -- home of the largest
training wing in the Air Force.
All that represents an incredibly rich collection of aerospace assets . . . one that all
of you should be proud of.
There were some long faces around here not too long ago when Kelly -- the oldest air base
in continuous operation in the United States -- was one of those put on the list for
closure as part of the massive ongoing cutbacks in military capacity dictated by the end
of the Cold War.
But you wont see weeds growing out of the concrete around here. Not now or any time
Thanks to the inspired efforts of good many people here today . . . and most especially
those of San Antonio community . . . Kelly has won a new lease on life as the site of the
newly established Boeing Aerospace
This represents a major new enterprise for The Boeing Company. We aim to become the
preeminent provider of maintenance and modification of large military aircraft. This is a
major element of a broadened and increased focus on the part of The Boeing Company in
providing a full spectrum of support services for our customers. We see this as a big and
important business -- one that is going to experience steady growth even as the DOD
procurement and R&D budgets continue to drop.
Many -- in fact, most -- of the airplanes that will be serviced here were designed and
built by The Boeing Company. And of course that includes the first plane that we see here
today -- a C-17, nearly five years old, that has logged over 3,200 flight hours.
Why did we choose Kelly and San Antonio?
There were many reasons. They include a highly skilled workforce, excellent facilities and
a great work ethic. More than that, you are part of a long tradition of enthusiasm and
support for all things aerospace.
That is something that we at The Boeing Company have known and appreciated for a long
time. Almost wherever you look in this state -- wherever you find major concentrations of
aerospace activity -- you find that the stream is well stocked with Boeing products and
If I may close on something of a sentimental note, I should like
to point out that Kelly Air Force Base . . . and The Boeing Company . . . share a common
birth date. We were both founded in 1916, or just 13 years after the Wright Brothers flew
for the first time at Kitty Hawk.
In our different ways, both of us were pioneers in the early days of aviation. Together,
looking far into the future, we will act as pioneers in bringing a new level of
excellence and affordability in a key service to our customers in U.S. Armed Services.