U.S. Senators Robert C. Byrd and Jay Rockefeller, both D-W.Va., along with Congressman Nick Rahall, D-WV03, today announced that no
C-130 aircraft will be leaving their home base at the West Virginia National Guard's 130th Airlift Wing, stationed at Yeager Airport in Charleston. The three federal legislators had previously written to the Secretary of the Air Force opposing a proposal to transfer two of the C-130 aircraft from West Virginia's Air National Guard Unit in Charleston as part of a U.S. Air Force plan to relocate 12 C-130 aircraft to an Air Force Reserve Unit in Arkansas.
"These aircraft are vital to the defense of this nation both at home and abroad," said Byrd. "Our West Virginia airmen have flown missions in national emergencies, as well as military actions in Afghanistan and Iraq. I am pleased that the Air Force has taken our concerns into consideration and agreed not to move forward with this transfer. I have worked long and hard to establish the C-130 presence at Yeager and have obtained millions of dollars in funding to improve this home base. It would have been unfortunate to lose these aircraft after we have worked so hard to upgrade and enhance their capabilities right here in West Virginia."
"The 130th Airlift Wing of the West Virginia National Guard has a vital role in homeland defense and in the state of West Virginia. I'm very pleased with Secretary Donley's decision to allow the Airlift Wing to continue to fulfill its important obligations," said Senator Rockefeller. "I know that tough budget decisions must be made now more than ever. But maintaining these assets is the right choice for the Air Force, the nation and our state -- and I thank the rest of the West Virginia delegation for coming together to make this happen. Together with my colleagues, I will continue to insist that the contributions and needs of our incredible 130th Airlift Wing are a top priority in Washington."
"I want to thank Senator Byrd and Senator Rockefeller for their efforts and am very pleased the Air Force revised its plan," said Rep. Rahall. "We cannot put our state's readiness at a disadvantage without consulting those who are working on the ground in West Virginia. The West Virginia National Guard is vitally important to the safety and security of the citizens of West Virginia and the C-130 fleet is crucial to our Guard's readiness and ability to respond to both state and federal missions."