Air Force: 911th Airlift Wing Mission Secure Through 2014
The 911th Airlift wing in Moon will remain open for another year, but uncertainty remains about its future.
The 911th Airlift Wing will keep its eight C-130 tactical aircraft through 2014, maintaining its full flying mission for one year.
U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair, announced today that a planned 2013 closure of the base will not occur. Operations at the base will continue into next year, Murphy said in a statement.
The Air Force renewed the base's mission today. The 911th has faced previous closure attempts, including one in 2005.
“The past 12 months aside, countless members of our community have been fighting since 2004 to block misguided and misinformed attempts to close the 911th," Murphy said in a statement.
The 911th's mission after 2014 remains unclear. Murphy said efforts to stave off a closure have not ended.
“Despite this victory, our efforts to showcase the 911th will not stop," Murphy said.
The Air Force had again initiated efforts to close the base after March, following the expiration of a law put in place to delay the closure. Air Force officials said shuttering the 911th would save the military $350 million.
Under a closure, the base would loose its eight C-130 aircraft and eliminate each of its 1,300 military and 280 civilian personnel positions.
Local lawmakers, reservists and Pentagon officials had wrangled over the base's future for more than a year—area reservists and Moon officials staged a rally in protest of the closure in May 2012.
To counter the closure efforts, Pennsylvania lawmakers touted the cost-savings relationship associated with the 911th and Pittsburgh International Airport. The airport, maintained by the Allegheny County Airport Authority, offers its runways and other services to the air wing at an annual cost of $20,000.
"My sincere appreciation to everyone who has been involved in this process, including Gov.(Tom) Corbett, my colleagues in the Pennsylvania delegation, and the local members of the military support community,” the congressman said in the statement.
Despite the base's renewed mission, 280 civilian personnel are expected to be furloughed in April as a result of the federal government's budget sequestration.
The 911th public affairs office could not comment this morning on Murphy's announcement or planned furloughs.
In a statement, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald called the development "great news for our region and the 911th Airlift Wing."
"The base has a great story to tell about its cost effectiveness, efficiency and readiness capability and its impact on our economy is just as substantial," he said.
“This is a perfect example of what we can accomplish when we work together, across party lines, and at multiple levels of government, along with the community," he added.
Fitzgerald thanked Pennsylvania's U.S. Sens. Bob Casey and Pat Toomey, Reps. Murphy and Mike Doyle, former U.S. Reps. Jason Altmire and Mark Critz, Gov. Corbett, state Sen. Matt Smith, former Sen. John Pippy, state Rep. Mark Mustio and other officials who threw their support behind efforts to keep the base open.
"The community also came together through the Military Affairs Coalition of Western PA, led by Chip Holzworth and the late Sally Haas," he said. "We did this together, with many, many more unnamed partners.
"Together we made a very important difference and, today we are all excited and relieved that these efforts were successful.”
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