Today, Congressman Mike Castle participated, as a visiting Member, in a House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee Hearing exploring the Fiscal Year 2011 Army Reserve, Army National Guard, and Air National Guard Training and Operations Budget. At the hearing, Rep. Castle expressed his concerns with the Department of Defense budget request because of its proposal to transfer C-130 aircraft from Air National Guard units across the country, including Delaware, to an active-duty unit in Arkansas, and asked Lt. General Harry M. Wyatt, Director of the Air National Guard, about this plan, which has the potential to deplete various units of the planes necessary for emergency operations.
Rep. Castle released the following statement after the hearing:
"Like so many, I am thankful for the men and women who are making such a sacrifice away from their own families to serve our nation and keep us all safe. In Delaware, the Delaware Air National Guard has the unique role of serving both our nation at home and abroad, and the State of Delaware.
"As a former Governor, and as a Congressman, I have witnessed first-hand the National Guard in action, responding as soon as called upon to provide assistance during times of emergency. For this reason, I am deeply concerned with the Department of Defense's proposal to transfer Air National Guard C-130 aircraft from several states, including Delaware, to Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas.
"As Congress considers this proposal, I urge Members of the Armed Services Committee to carefully review alternative courses set forth by the Governors of the states impacted by this proposal, Air National Guard leadership, and the Chief of National Guard Bureau, to preserve the mobility capabilities for the Air National Guard's federal and state missions."
The Department of Defense Fiscal Year 2011 Air National Guard Budget Proposal calls for the transfer of C-130 planes from National Guard units around the country to Little Rock Air Force Base. This transfer includes one plane from the Delaware Air National Guard.
Rep. Castle, along with Delaware Senators Tom Carper and Ted Kaufman, recently sent a letter to Michael Donley, Secretary of the Air Force, to outline their concerns with this proposal. The letter highlighted the long and proud tradition demonstrated by the Delaware Air National Guard's 166th Airlift Wing and their expert airmanship flying eight C-130s of varying configurations since 1971. Also, the Delegation noted the responsiveness of the Guard, who has served during Operations Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom and who has aided countless humanitarian relief and disaster assistance efforts.