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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. 

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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