PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The future of the 911th Airlift Wing in Moon Township looks bleak.
It appears federal officials are not changing their stance about closing the base, which means the Pennsylvania Air National Guard Refueling Wing is also expected to lose a number of jobs.
“There’s something else going on here when we recognize the Air Force is what I think is stonewalling this and that this is coming out of a higher level budget proposal here,” U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, R- 18th Congressional District, said.
Specifically, the Air Force is going ahead with its total closure of the 911th base at Pittsburgh International Airport.
The Air Force announced a month ago that it was phasing out or transferring all the aircraft currently assigned to the 911th.
The congressional delegation has been working hard to show the Air Force the error of its decision.
“The numbers are astronomically different,” Murphy said. “We don’t understand why the Air Force is not responding to us yet and we’re going to keep the pressure on.”
Congressman Murphy said he is not about to give up. He still believes the Air Force is wrong to eliminate the 911th and said they are not authorized to close the base without Congressional approval.
Losing 1,449 reservists and civilians at the 911th would devastate an already struggling part of the county.
“With not only with the jobs lost, but you know the infusion of lost revenues from folks who would no longer be coming in to do their reserve duty,” Sally Haas with the Airport Area Chamber of Commerce said.
In addition to the 911th, the Air Force will also announce the elimination of 185 positions at the 171st Air Refueling Wing at Pittsburgh International Airport.
The announcement last month previously indicated the 171st would lose a couple of aircraft in the downsizing. The staff reduction of National Guard members and some full-time civilians amounts to about 12 percent of the workforce of the 171st.