Air Force reaffirms C-130s coming to Great Falls
Tester secures aircrafts’ delivery by 2014
(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester this week secured a commitment from the U.S. Air Force to deliver eight C-130s to Great Falls by 2014.
The Air Force originally announced the C-130 mission for the Montana Air National Guard in February, but it was uncertain when the cargo planes would arrive. The mission is expected to provide hundreds of jobs for Montana Airmen and members of the Great Falls community.
At a Senate hearing this week to consider the Air Force’s budget, Tester pressed Air Force Assistant Secretary Terry Yonkers and Air National Guard Deputy Director General William Etter for more specifics on the C-130s’ arrival.
“We’d like to do it as soon as possible,” Etter told Tester. “But we need time to make sure we address the military construction issues and also training, conversion, and new facilities.”
Etter said that within 90 days, he would provide Tester with an exact date for the C-130s’ arrival.
Yonkers said that the Air Force is setting aside $27 million to accommodate the C-130s and new construction needs, such as bigger aircraft hangers. The officials told Tester that even if the hangers are not completed in time, MANG’s existing facilities could handle the C-130s.
Tester today also met with the Director of the Air National Guard, Lieutenant General Harry “Bud” Wyatt, who confirmed that the C-130s will be MANG’s next flight mission. Fellow Montana Senator Max Baucus joined Tester and Wyatt.
Tester has fought for years to deliver a new manned flying mission to Great Falls, most recently reminding the Defense Department that Montana is the “ideal fit” for the C-130s and vowing not to rest “until the last of the C-130s lands in Great Falls.”