Today U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken and Representative Keith Ellison announced that the United States Air Force has decided to retain the 934th Airlift Wing, based in Minneapolis, through fiscal year 2014. The members worked closely with the Air Force on the issue and sent a letter to Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley urging him to retain the 934th for service.
"The 934th Airlift Wing is not only a vital part of the community, it plays an important role in our nation's defense," said Klobuchar. "I worked closely with with the Air Force to keep the 934th in Minneapolis, and I am pleased the airmen and women will continue to serve their country with distinction."
"This is great news. The men and women of the 934th Airlift Wing are some of the best-trained professionals in the Air Force, and I'm thrilled that they'll be able to continue to operate in Minneapolis. The 934th has participated in nearly every one of our nation's military operations overseas and has a record of performing its missions with excellence and in a cost-effective way. I'm glad that the Air Force listened to our requests to enable the 934th to keep its planes. This was the right decision," said Franken.
"I am thrilled that the 934th Air Wing will continue to provide essential supplies and evacuations for our troops in the U.S. and around the world. Members of the Minnesota congressional delegation and I have been very engaged with Air Force leaders to retain the 934th Airlift Wing, and we are proud the Air Force has recognized and reaffirmed the service the 934th provides to Minnesota and our nation," said Ellison.
Previously, Klobuchar led a delegation letter to the Secretary of the Air Force urging him to retain the 934th Airlift Wing. Below is the text of the letter the members sent to Secretary Donley.
The Honorable Michael B. Donley
Secretary of the Air Force
1670 Air Force Pentagon
Washington, D.C. 20330-1670
Dear Secretary Donley,
As you review the recommendations of the Intra-Theater Airlift Working Group, we urge you to seriously consider the 934th Airlift Wing of the Air Force Reserve for retention. We believe the 934th Airlift Wing provides great value and flexibility to the Air Force and the Defense Department as a whole.
The Air Force's Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 budget submission proposed eliminating the 934th's airlift mission and retiring the unit's eight C-130H aircraft. Section 1059 of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2013 (P.L. 112-239) directs the Air Force to retain 32 airlift aircraft beyond the number proposed in the Air Force's FY 2013 request in order to ensure adequate force structure for direct support airlift missions. We understand that the Intra-Theater Airlift Working Group has now provided you with findings to inform your decision on the retention of airlifters based on warfighting requirements; support to civil authorities; future aircraft maintenance requirements; and other important factors.
We believe that the 934th Airlift Wing fulfills these criteria. Personnel and aircraft of the 934th have participated in nearly every one of our nation's military operations overseas since 1989, including deployments for Operation DESERT STORM and RESTORE HOPE in Somalia; and, most recently, multiple tours in support of our forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. This record reveals the flexibility and value of the 934th Airlift Wing, which has the capability to perform direct support, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and aeromedical evacuation missions.
The 934th Airlift Wing also has the advantage of being co-located with the 133rd Airlift Wing of the Minnesota Air National Guard, which allows the two units to share resources and facilities and to provide support more efficiently when called upon. Taking advantage of co-location will help ensure that the retention of additional force structure is cost-effective.
We appreciate your stewardship of our nation's Air Force and your consideration of the 934th Airlift Wing. If you have any questions or if we can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.