Obama Legislation Requiring Air Force Report on Future Plans for 183rd Airborne Passes Senate
U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) today announced that legislation he authored that would require the Air Force to issue a report on its plans for all Air Guard and Air Forces bases affected by Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) passed the full Senate as part of the Department of Defense Authorization bill.
"Members of the 183rd are fighting bravely in Iraq and were crucial to the Gulf Coast relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina, but because of BRAC, this unit of 1,100 brave men and women is uncertain about what their future will be." said Obama. "This legislation would require the Air Force to explain to them what future missions are under consideration for the 183rd and what criteria is being used to decide their eventual mission."
Because of the 2005 BRAC Commission decision, 15 F-16 fighters and 163 military and civilian personnel will be transferred from the Illinois Air National Guard's 183 Fighter Wing at Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport in Springfield to a facility in Indiana.
Obama's legislation would require the Air Force to report on its planning for future missions at all Air Guard and Air Forces bases, including the 183rd, by January 1, 2007. This report would include a description of the process for determining future missions, which missions are currently under consideration and a timeline for when a final decision will be made.
The 183rd Fighter Wing is an Air National Guard Unit that provides both combat-ready fighter jets in times of war, including the Iraq war, and support for state-level domestic emergencies like its mobilization in support of Hurricane Katrina. Founded nearly 60 years ago, the unit has flown the most cutting edge aircraft in the Air Force, including the F-51 Mustang, the fastest propeller fighter in the world, the F-84F Thunderstreak, the F-4 Phantom jet, and most recently the F-16. Since the announcement that the unit would be losing its planes, the 183rd's leadership has been working hard to secure a new mission. The report Obama requested is intended to help the 183rd find that new mission.