Congressman Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) today requested that the United States Air Force locate a new airlift mission at the Battle Creek Air National Guard base. The Air Force is soon expected to decide where it will be basing a mission of 32 C-130 or C-27J aircraft as required by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year (FY) 2013. Upton has long been a strong supporter of the base and the 110th Airlift Wing and was a vocal advocate during the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC).
The full text of Upton's sent letter to Michael B. Donley, Secretary of the Air Force, is below:
January 29, 2013
The Honorable Michael Donley
Secretary of the Air Force
United States Department of Defense
1670 Air Force Pentagon
Washington, DC 20330-1670
As you know, the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act requires the Air Force to retain an additional 32 C-130 or C-27J aircraft beyond what was included in the Air Force's force structure proposal presented to Congress on November 2, 2012. The Michigan Air National Guard's 110th Airlift Wing in Battle Creek is an ideal candidate for basing a C-27J or C-130 mission, and I fully support the request made by Governor Snyder and Adjutant General Vadnais to base either mission there.
Since the Base Realignment and Closure Commission was completed in 2005, the 110th Airlift Wing has been expecting to receive a C-27J aircraft mission and has prepared accordingly -- but the base and its personnel are also more than capable of accepting a C-130 mission instead. The Battle Creek Air National Guard Base has continually modernized its assets and already has nearly everything needed to host either of these missions -- including three runways, one of which measures in at 10,000 feet. Battle Creek Air National Guard Base also has up-to-date hangars with adequate space, modern maintenance facilities, talented staff, fuel capabilities, a secure perimeter, and a fire department. In fact, very few physical improvements will need to be made to the Battle Creek Air National Guard Base to support a C-27J or C-130 mission -- which is critical in this era of tight budgeting across the Armed Forces.
Additionally, the Battle Creek Air National Guard Base has the benefit of a strategic location, with few active duty Air Force installations located in the upper Midwest. It is well-placed to deliver goods and personnel anywhere in the country on short notice, especially to major population centers in the Midwest and in cases of natural disasters, and is also in a prime location near the Canadian border.
It is with great confidence in the Michigan Air National Guard that I support the formal request made by Michigan's Governor and military leaders for the basing of a C-27J or C-130 mission at the Battle Creek Air National Guard Base.
Member of Congress