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Letter to Michael Donley, Acting Secretary of the Air Force, Re: Identify Funding for New Component Numbered Air Force Mission

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Durbin, Obama, Shimkus, Hare and LaHood Ask Air Force to Identify Funding for New Mission

U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Barack Obama (D-IL) today joined with Representatives John Shimkus (R-IL), Phil Hare (D-IL) and Ray LaHood (R-IL) in asking the Air Force to identify funding for the new Component Numbered Air Force (c-NAF) mission that has been proposed for the 183rd Fighter Wing in Springfield, Illinois.

"We strongly urge you and the rest of the Air Force leadership to wholeheartedly support and fully fund the transformation of this Springfield-based wing into the c-NAF mission. Funding must be identified in the Future Years Defense Plan as soon as possible if the unit is to fulfill its responsibilities as a new command element of the Air Force."

In a letter to the Acting Secretary of the Air Force, Michael Donley, the Illinois members made clear that without adequate funding for training, necessary equipment and upgraded facilities, the Illinois Air National Guard will have difficulty in transitioning to this new mission.

Additionally, the Illinois Members reiterated their continued support for a new flying mission: "The 183rd Fighter Wing is scheduled to lose the F-16 aircraft from its unit. The 183rd Fighter Wing has flown missions for over 60 years, and retaining a flying mission in Springfield is essential. We will continue to fight for a flying mission for the fighter wing."

Text of the letter appears below:

July 7, 2008

The Honorable Michael Donley
Acting Secretary of the Air Force
SAF/OS
1670 Air Force Pentagon
Washington, DC 20330-1670

Dear Mr. Secretary:

We write to ask that the Air Force identify funding in the Future Years Defense Plan for the Component Numbered Air Force (c-NAF) mission proposed for the 183rd Fighter Wing in Springfield, Illinois.

The 183rd is scheduled to take on this new c-NAF mission and the Illinois Air National Guard is ready to begin the challenging task of accepting it.

The c-NAF mission has over 300 personnel, which does not offset the personnel losses created by the possible departure of the F-16 fighters, as recommended by the base realignment process. The Springfield unit will do all it can to ensure the best qualified airmen are assigned, retained, and trained in this new mission.

The Illinois Air National Guard, given its proven track record of accomplishment, will make this transition successful if the Air Force and the National Guard Bureau adequately fund training, provide the necessary equipment, and upgrade the facilities. To do otherwise would have a devastating impact on this unit.

In addition, the 183rd Fighter Wing is scheduled to lose the F-16 aircraft from its unit. The 183rd Fighter Wing has flown missions for over 60 years, and retaining a flying mission in Springfield is essential. We will continue to fight for a flying mission for the fighter wing.

In the meantime, we strongly urge you and the rest of the Air Force leadership to wholeheartedly support and fully fund the transformation of this Springfield-based wing into the c-NAF mission. Funding must be identified in the Future Years Defense Plan as soon as possible if the unit is to fulfill its responsibilities as a new command element of the Air Force.

Sincerely,
Senator Richard Durbin
Senator Barack Obama
Congressman John Shimkus
Congressman Phil Hare
Congressman Ray LaHood


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