As we prepare for another Change of Command ceremony at White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) and get ready to say “good-bye” to Maj. Gen. Gwen Bingham, we must make certain that we don’t take for granted the great relationship that exists between the groups on either side of the mountain.
I clearly remember Bingham at her first Thanks Team WSMR event in 2012, saying she had never seen anything like what we do for the base in her 30-plus years of military service.
The fact WSMR is a key driver of our economy has been chronicled in this publication numerous times as it has in our two local newspapers. The $2.3 million per day that comes our way from WSMR is a major part of what sustains our region, but that’s only a portion of it.
First, WSMR’s mission ultimately protects the people of the United States by testing systems that cannot economically be tested anywhere else. WSMR also provides an opportunity for New Mexico State University students as interns, and in some cases full-time hires, in fields of study that are important to WSMR and NMSU.
We have several people in the Chamber who go above and beyond to acknowledge, recognize and thank the folks at WSMR for what they do for the country and southern New Mexico. These folks have been doing it for years and I really appreciate the fact that they incorporate these efforts into their schedules, keeping in mind they volunteer their time for this. As thankful as I am for the time that they put in, we need to increase the number of people who are willing to help.
The timing of this column, and my asking, could not be better as we are nearing the time where we begin meeting and planning for this fall’s Thanks Team WSMR celebration. Much like our Las Cruces Day in Santa Fe weekend, Thanks Team WSMR has a number of moving parts and we typically start planning five or six months in advance.
I am asking you, our members, to get involved as we move forward with Thanks Team WSMR 2014. Please contact me directly if you are interested. My goal is for incoming Brig. Gen.
Timothy Coffin to say the same thing Bingham said to me, “I’ve never seen anything like this in my time in the Army.”
Bill Allen, President/CEO Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce