Congressmen Bob Gibbs (R-Lakeville), Jim Jordan (R-Urbana), and Patrick J. Tiberi (R-Galena) issued the following statement on Tuesday's force structure announcement by the Air Force calling for a reduction of more than 800 positions at the Ohio Air National Guard's 179th Airlift Wing in Mansfield:
We continue to oppose the short-sighted plan of the Obama Administration to cancel the C-27J program and leave the 179th without a flying mission. The outstanding men and women of the 179th have been key to our security efforts for more than 60 years. They always stand ready to accept whatever mission is assigned to them. Their superior record of achievement is the reason they were selected to receive the nation's first C-27J mission.
The Pentagon threatened Mansfield's mission during the 2005 base closure round, but ultimately realized that closing the 179th would result in the departure of hundreds of highly trained men and women from the National Guard. Unfortunately, this is what the Obama Administration is again risking by targeting the C-27J program.
Our nation needs a strong National Guard to assist with cost-effective overseas operations. With two of Mansfield's C-27Js currently in Afghanistan in support of our efforts there, the 179th is right now proving the value of this plane to our national defense.
Our states need a strong Guard to provide swift disaster response in times of crisis. Last week's devastating tornadoes in southern Ohio and the immediate response of Ohio's Guardsmen demonstrate how critical this need is.
We will not give up. Congress will decide the future of the C-27J program through our regular authorization and appropriations processes. The program has enjoyed strong support from throughout the nation in the past. We will continue to fight on behalf of the 179th and its mission and against the President's plan to eliminate it. We must keep Mansfield's loyal, highly skilled Guardsmen on the job--or risk weakening our national defense and homeland response capability.