County, National Officials Rally with Supporters of 911th, 171st Air Wings

Veterans and local officials protest the planned closing of one Moon Township military base and reductions at another.

The region's military supporters joined county and national officials Tuesday night in Pittsburgh to protest the planned closure of the Moon-based 911th Airlift Wing

More than 150 veterans and others gathered at a rally at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall in Oakland to urge U.S. military officials to reconsider closing the airlift wing 

The Air Force announced plans earlier this year to the 911th in 2013, eliminating 1,100 military and 280 civilian jobs in the move. The neighboring 171st Refueling Wing also has been targeted for realignment and personnel layoffs.

U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair, stood alongside U.S. Reps. Mike Doyle, D-Forest Hills, Jason Altmire, D-McCandless, and Mark Critz, D-Johnstown, and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. Together, they spoke out on behalf of the air bases, which are among the bases and facilities included in a Pentagon plan to cut as much as $8.7 billion from the U.S. Air Force's 2013 budget.

The Air Force targeted the 911th for closure because of the  of its eight C-130 aircraft, which are among the oldest tactical aircraft still flying for the military.

Supporters of the bases, however, have that their use of runways at Pittsburgh International Airport make them among the most cost-effective military installations in the country. 

Rally-goers often erupted in applause throughout the event, which was sponsored by Allegheny County Veterans Affairs

Click through the gallery for more on the story. 

clearfield April 04, 2012 at 06:00 PM
Representative Tim Murphy can showboat all he wants but we MUST remember he gave the richest people in this country two massive tax cuts, along with supporting a massive build up of debt under GWBush, along with supporting corporate greed by allowing it to go on, which led to a near depression in this country. As a result of fighting two wars through the issuing of Treasury debt bought up by China, which now owns around $1T of our debt bonds, the country is in a continuing recession with near stagnant wages forcing wage earners to increase their personal debt. This does not increase national revenues to support our national priorities. Murphy did not call for a nationwide call for everyone to pony up for the Bush wars and occupations. Instead, he gave the richest among us tax breaks, right-offs, and refunds. Now, he is rallying for the 9-11th to remain intact, which has been documented to be one of the most efficiently run bases in the country, as well as a regional asset. Murphy cannot have it both ways: supporting massive debt and tax cuts under Bush (which Obama has been trying to solve while trying to keep the middle class from sinking even further and winding down the wars and occupation), megabank bailouts, while they gave out $23B in bank bonuses, and wanting a military base in his district from getting axed.
savethebase April 04, 2012 at 07:49 PM
President Obama is sinking this country lower and lower. To close our bases when we need them most is suicidal for the nation. Thank you Congressman for all you're doing to keep the 911th open and a functioning part of this country's protection.
Sarah L. April 04, 2012 at 09:45 PM
I'm sorry, 'savethebase' but get your facts straight before posting on a news site. The decision to close the 911th was made by the Air Force. Not the president. It was done to cut the Air Force budget. We are no longer at war so it no longer makes sense to keep spending like we are at war. Republicans continue to complain about the growing national debt and unbalanced budget, and they blame the president for that. So the military makes the decision to cut things to reduce spending. And what do Republicans do? Complain more! It's a wonderfully never ending cycle of hypocrisy. Budget reductions need to be made and we can all agree on that. Is closing the 911th the right thing to do? Probably not. But to blame it on President Obama is misinformed and demonstrates that you do not know what you are talking about.
seen2mch April 04, 2012 at 10:45 PM
I know it`s 2012 and a lot of things have changed in this country over the years...but don`t we operate and construct military bases to serve and support our military? They are not in place to provide jobs for civilians....those jobs are just a by-product of the military operation of the base. We should all be able to understand(especially the citizens that are always whining about government being too big and entitlements,etc.)that when we end wars and bring our troops home the need to operate supportive units and their bases is no longer necessary. Now,does base closing become a political issue? Unfortunately, at times it does and it appears the 911th is going to become a victim of these political games. The politicians with the most clout are not going to lose bases in their areas but in areas like ours where politicians like Congressman Murphy oppose and vote against every single thing this administration tries to accomplish (and you can throw Altmire in here too) guess who is going to get the short end of this deal?
WJB April 06, 2012 at 03:58 PM
I am personally upset that President Obama decided to go and close all of the bookstores in in downtown Pittsburgh area, right when I needed to buy a book the most...oh...wait...that wasn't him either. Guess I was just confused since everyone else blames him for things he didn't do.
Stephen April 06, 2012 at 04:15 PM
Sarah L, what do you mean we are not at war? Someone should tell our men and women in Afghanistan.
Sarah L. April 06, 2012 at 05:00 PM
Yes we do. And they are now in the process of pulling out, i.e., the war is ending. BTW, has Congress declared war anytime recently? I'm all for saluting our troops, but our military spending needs to reflect reality.
jlz April 07, 2012 at 01:16 AM
You may consider "save the base" misinformed, but as a military wife, I make every effort to follow decisions that impact our air force. I am so tired of every issue becoming a pro or anti Obama arguement. President Obama has proposed the budget, which our military has to comply with. Why he chooses to cut our military resources is beyond me and the effects of his actions are much further reaching than our local bases. How do you feel about the cuts to the medical benefits of soldiers suffering physical and mental disabilities resulting from their time over seas? How do you feel about soldiers ready for retirement not knowing what benefits will be affected by the upcoming changes. If you honestly think that "the war is ending", you are terribly misinformed. Just ask the soldiers seperated from their families right now preparing for deployment. We don't need your sanctimonious salute. Log on to the 911th's website. Inform yourself on their reality over the past 40 years and then decide how expendable our units are.
clearfield April 07, 2012 at 07:18 PM
Just a note---we appear to be withdrawing soldiers from the battle grounds, but there will be a portion of military personnel remaining indefinitely. Currently, Iraq has the largest U.S. "embassy" in the world, which employs military personnel. They need cargo planes flown in and out, which the 911th specializes in. Also, the U.S. has the most overall base structures of any other country all around the world. This requires the air force to deliver goods, services and more. Regarding the military budget, which happens to be the second largest line item in the budget. The Pentagon has short-shrifted the soldiers with medical concerns, but many in the Congress want soldiers to no longer receive government supplied health care but to use the private sector system. This would cost more. Also, when we spend billions on military hardware that may not be necessary or a total waste of money, then that sucks budget capital away from the needs of our soldiers.
durf April 09, 2012 at 11:44 AM
Regardless if we are at war or in a time of peace there are going to be military bases all over the world and the nation. Its just fact. The 911th is one of the most cost effective bases in the Air Force Reserve Command. Where most AF Bases cost the government 6 million a year to maintain the runways the 911th is a lot less because of the county. Not to mention the troops at the 911th have kept the base at the top of the AFRC in performance. So closing it doesn't make sense in terms of cost savings or preparedness. Saying you support the troops is not just putting a yellow bumper sticker on your car. Its about being involved, helping a deployed members spouse, becoming one or supporting the ideas that make sense. Closing the 911th does not! By the way please take a look at how much the last BRAC saved the American Taxpayer.


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