Head of Grand Forks base says population will grow

Associated Press

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) — The Grand Forks Air Force Base commander says population declines should bottom out in a couple of weeks.

Col. Don Shaffer says about 3,500 people — active-duty personnel and their families — are at the base. About 50 of the 1,800 active-duty personnel will transfer to other bases by the end of the month, but 460 personnel are to be assigned to the base by Oct. 1. The Grand Forks Herald reports that the total base population could grow by about 1,000 in the next year.

The base is transitioning from refueling tankers to a drone mission. It's to get its first two Global Hawk unmanned aircraft this summer. Shaffer says the base eventually will house eight of the drones. That will mean an additional 400 personnel in coming years.