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Letter to The Honorable Michael W. Wynne, Secretary of the United States Air Force



Text of letter appears below:

March 28, 2007

The Honorable Michael W. Wynne
Secretary of the United States Air Force
The Pentagon
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Mr. Secretary:

We write urging your reconsideration of the apparent decision not to place a flying mission at the 183rd Fighter Wing in Springfield, Illinois, as outlined in the recently released United States Air Force Total Force Initiative (TFI) proposal. In a time of war, we cannot afford to lose the experience and capabilities of the trained personnel, nor the capital investment in facilities of the 183rd.

The Adjutant General of Illinois faces significant personnel and equipment challenges in the performance of his dual State and Federal military missions. The TFI proposal, which leaves the 183rd Fighter Wing without a flying mission and thereby impairs the Illinois Air National Guard, adds to that challenge. This plan represents the loss of an important component of the Illinois Homeland Security toolkit, and will cost more than 200 Airmen of the 183rd their jobs. We ask you to remedy this.

First, the Air National Guard Air Operations Center (Component NAF) should be established at Capital Air Guard Base in Springfield and be fully funded to perform its mission.

Second, we maintain our strong support for the retention of a flying mission for the ILANG at Capital Air Guard Base in Springfield. This could either be retention of the 183rd Air Wing's fighter mission, or the assignment of another aircraft with funding and associated support architecture.

We recognize the constraints on the Defense budget, but it is essential the ILANG maintain a high level of capability and readiness to support both critical state and federal missions, including prosecuting the Global War on Terrorism and Homeland Defense. We seek your support to address this oversight.

We greatly appreciate your continued support for the many fine men and women of the Illinois National Guard selflessly serving our country in this critical time.

Richard J. Durbin
United States Senator

Barack Obama
United States Senator

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