MOON TOWNSHIP (KDKA) – The 911th airlift wing was in danger of being closed, but local leaders and the congressional delegation fought to keep it open.
Congressman Tim Murphy announced that they had been successful in that fight. By proving how useful the airlift wing is, the Air Force has decided to keep the 911th open through 2014.
It was February 2012, when word that the 911th Airlift Wing would close as part of cost-cutting measures by the Air Force.
KDKA’s Heather Abraham Reports:
However, between the community, military men and women, and local politicians, they weren’t going down without a fight.
Congressman Murphy released a statement regarding the Air Force’s decision.
“With every bump in the road-and there were many-southwestern Pennsylvanians refused to give up. In the end, the Air Force finally agreed that the 911th is one of the most efficient, skilled, and mission-ready airlift units in the country,” Murphy said.
Another huge advocate is the Airport Area Chamber of Commerce Bernadette Puzzuole, who said it has been a long year, but he is proud no one gave up.
“Having the military change its mind shows that hard work really does payoff. They were looking for ways to save money and the Military Affairs Council and Coalition went to work and proved to them that because of the economies with the Pittsburgh Airport, this was the most economical bases in the country,” Puzzuole said.
Also, 16 KC-135 refueling tankers will remain in service at the 171st Air National Guard Refueling Wing.
KDKA’s John Shumway Reports:
“The Air Force today briefed me on their decision to keep 8 C130s at the 911th with manpower fully restored for Fiscal Year 2013 and 2014. This was the right decision. I have been fighting to keep the 911th open because it is efficient and effective and a smart use of resources. I will continue to press Secretary Hagel to ensure the long-term sustainability of the installation. I would like to thank the entire military community in the Pittsburgh area for their continued support in being true champions for our reservists,” Sen. Bob Casey said.
Currently, there are more than 1,300 reservists and 300 civilian employees at the base. The base also contributes about $125 million to the local economy.