The Air Force informed members of Pennsylvania's Congressional delegation today that the 911th Airlift Wing at the Pittsburgh International Airport will be preserved for Fiscal Years 2013 and 2014 and that the eighth aircraft lost some years ago will be returned.
Air Force officials told Senators Bob Casey and Pat Toomey and Representatives Tim Murphy, Mike Doyle and Keith Rothfus that the 911th will see no changes to its personnel structure.
The 911th Airlift Wing performs important missions as part of Air Mobility Command. In particular, the wing's C-130 aircraft deploy heavy equipment in support of overseas military missions.
"This has been a real bipartisan team effort on the part of the western Pennsylvania Delegation," Congressman Mike Doyle said. "Our persistence has paid off. Tim Murphy and I never let the Air Force forget the value of the 911th and its dedicated personnel, and I want to thank our Pennsylvania Senators for their hard work as well. This is a great day for the Air Force, Western Pennsylvania, and the proud men and women who serve our country."
"With every bump in the road--and there were many--Southwestern Pennsylvanians refused to give up," said Congressman Tim Murphy. "In the end, the Air Force finally agreed that the 911th is one of the most efficient, skilled, and mission-ready airlift units in the country. In every phone call, meeting, site visit, and discussion with Pentagon officials, always on our minds were the families of the 1,400 active-duty airmen, reservists, technicians and civilians at the 911th who are serving our country, keeping our nation safe, and doing it in the most economical way. The superb service provided to the Air Force by our local military members is reflected in their exemplary performance record. I'm thrilled that with this announcement, those families can sleep soundly tonight, knowing their jobs are secure and our country remains safe because of their awe-inspiring service."
"The Air Force today briefed me on their decision to keep 8 C130s at the 911th with manpower fully restored for Fiscal Year 2013 and 2014. This was the right decision. I have been fighting to keep the 911th open because it is efficient and effective and a smart use of resources. I will continue to press Secretary Hagel to ensure the long-term sustainability of the installation. I would like to thank the entire military community in the Pittsburgh area for their continued support in being true champions for our reservists," said Senator Casey.
"This is terrific news. The 911th Airlift Wing will be preserved," said Senator Toomey. "This important and cost effective unit will remain in Southwest Pennsylvania and remain at current strength. Senator Casey, our House colleagues and I have repeatedly championed the merits of the 911th Airlift Wing and the Air Force Secretary and Chief of Staff concur. It is gratifying that the Air Force leadership agreed with my contention all along that there was little evidence to support the premise that eliminating the 911th would be cost effective. This is a victory for Pittsburgh, Southwest Pennsylvania and our long-term military preparedness. Southwestern Pennsylvania has a rich history of military service, and the men and women of the 911th exemplify that tradition."
"This is welcome news for Western Pennsylvania, for Pittsburgh International Airport, and most importantly for the reservists, civilian employees, and their families," said Congressman Keith Rothfus. "The 911th is a critical component of our national defense and local economy and it saves taxpayers millions of dollars each year. This decision makes sense in light of our nation's fiscal crisis and threats abroad, and I will continue to fight for the promotion of the 911th and the hardworking men and women of Western Pennsylvania. There are many people who have devoted much time and energy to saving the 911th. I'd like to especially thank Chip Holsworth, president of the Military Affairs Coalition of Western Pennsylvania and the late Sally Haas, who was president of the Pittsburgh Airport Area Chamber of Commerce."