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Balderson Pushes Back on Proposed Reduction of Air Force Fleet that Could Impact the 179th

Washington, July 8, 2020

WASHINGTON – Congressman Troy Balderson (R-OH) and a bipartisan group of lawmakers are calling for the U.S. Air Force (USAF) to provide a long-term fleet management plan for C-130 aircraft, in response to a proposed reduction of the C-130H fleet within Air National Guard (ANG) units, which could jeopardize the Mansfield-Lahm 179th Airlift Wing’s mission. As the House Committee on Armed Services continues its work on the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2021, Balderson and his colleagues’ letter also urges the committee to require the Air Force to provide data-driven reasoning for a smaller C-130 fleet.

“Cutting back the 179th’s aircraft fleet would deliver a devastating blow to its critical mission and capabilities,” said Balderson. “Before potentially impacting this unit and the dedicated men and women who serve it, we need answers as to the logic and sustainable strategy behind these decisions.”

The C-130H Hercules performs tactical airlift operations and is the primary aircraft used by the 179th. According to the USAF, this craft is “the prime transport for air dropping troops and equipment into hostile areas.” The C-130H is mission critical in supporting servicemembers in active combat arenas. In addition to combat missions, the 179th uses the C-130H to provide support for disaster response and aeromedical missions.

“The most recent Mobility Capabilities and Requirements Study found a need to maintain 300 theater airlift aircraft to meet requirements,” the lawmakers wrote. “Nevertheless, the Air Force proposes to assume the risk of a smaller theater airlift fleet and has not provided sufficient justification. Any reduction in crucial capabilities should be the result of informed decision making.”

Read the full letter.

BACKGROUND

With its strong record and robust crew, 179th Airlift Wing in Mansfield plays a crucial role in the vitality of Central Ohio and our national defense.  It received the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award twice, among its several other decorations. Balderson’s letter aims to protect and uphold the critical capabilities of ANG units such as the 179th Airlift Wing.

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