Biloxi Chamber of Commerce’s Military Affairs Committee strengthens its relationship with Keesler Air Force Base through award and event support. The quarterly Military Spouses Tour is an opportunity to introduce new arrivals to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Annually, Biloxi Chamber of Commerce hosts a Commanders Luncheon to reach out, and keep abreast of new opportunities to support the military. Hails and Farewells for incoming and departing commanders allow the business community to welcome or say goodbye to Keesler Air Force Base leadership.
In the early 40s, it became apparent that Biloxi needed a year round economy, one not totally reliant on the tourist and fishing seasons. A.J. (Tony) Ragusin, Manager of the Biloxi Chamber led the members in an intense effort to bring a military installation to Biloxi. A massive public relations effort and the combined efforts of all elements of Biloxi’s citizenry resulted in the creation of what would become Keesler Field, an army air corps center.
Today, Keesler Air Force Base is home to the headquarters of the Second Air Force, The 81st Training Wing and the 403 Air Lift Wing of the Air Force Reserve. The Biloxi Chamber of Commerce is still responsible for maintaining the best possible relationship between the community and the military.