Military News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Ohio Senator discusses C-130 upgrades during Youngstown visit

by Master Sgt. Bob Barko Jr.
910th Airlift Wing Public Affairs Office

11/25/2014 - YOUNGSTOWN AIR RESERVE STATION, Ohio -- The 910th Airlift Wing welcomed Senator Sherrod Brown for an installation visit, Nov. 24.

During the visit, the Democratic Senator from Ohio met with wing leadership, took a windshield tour of the installation, visited the 910th's Avionics Shop, viewed one of the unit's Modular Aerial Spray Systems and walked through one of the wing's C-130H Hercules tactical cargo transport aircraft. The YARS visit concluded with time for local media outlets to conduct interviews with Brown and Col. James Dignan, 910th AW commander.

Brown's office requested the visit to meet with YARS leadership and discuss his legislation to ensure upgrades are made to Ohio's Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard C-130 fleet by 2020 to meet federal and international standards.

"I am working on legislation to make sure the C-130 will continue to fly and we can accelerate the modernization (of these planes)," said Brown.

The C-130H Hercules is the U.S. military's primary tactical cargo transport aircraft. Aircrews flying the C-130 have provided humanitarian assistance, precision airdrop and tactical airlift missions across the globe for more than four decades. According to a press release from the senator's office, the fleet must be upgraged by 2020 to meet federal and international aviation standards.

"We have to have plans to operate in the airspace so we don't have restrictions when we operate anywhere around the world," said Dignan. "And, we can be called upon, just like our active duty counterparts, so we can respond to our nation's requirements. So, without these upgrades, without making some plans for the future, we'll be dead in the water."

In addition to outlining his bill that would allow the Air Force to use a less expensive communication and navigation overhaul without sacrificing safety and effectiveness, the YARS visit gave Ohio's senior U.S. senator an up-close look at the 910th's mission and assets.

Brown noted during his interview with local media outlets some of the wing's mission accomplishments including aerial spray missions after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, supporting clean-up operations in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and flying recent humanitarian airdrops over northern Iraq. He also touted the fact the 910th Airlift Wing is home to the Department of Defense's only large-area, fixed-wing aerial spray capability. 

"It's in our domestic interest, our national interest and Youngstown's interest this base continues to prosper," Brown said.

Dignan said the wing welcomed this opportunity for interaction with the senator regarding C-130 modernization.

"Having a plan, like the senator does, to modernize these older legacy aircraft will make us stronger in the future and make us viable as we go into the next century," Dignan said. "That's what it really comes down to, is being strong for our nation's defense."

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