FOR IMMEDIATE R…

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FEBRUARY 3, 2012

 

Baucus, Tester stand with Great Falls to announce new MANG mission

Senators and community leaders unite behind Montana’s Airmen

 

(BILLINGS, Mont.) – Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester today stood with Great Falls community leaders to announce a new flying mission for the Montana Air National Guard.

 

Baucus and Tester announced that after years of high-level meetings with Air Force leadership, they secured a C-130H mission for MANG, ensuring that Great Falls will retain a manned flying mission.  The Senators’ success comes as Pentagon budget cuts will result in significant losses of aircraft and jobs at some other Air Guard units across the country.

 

“I want to thank both Senator Baucus and Senator Tester for their outstanding work to bring the C-130 mission here,” said Steve Malicott, president of the Great Falls Chamber of Commerce.  “It was a daunting mission and we had multiple, multiple challenges, but they really led the way for us.”

 

“This has been an amazing effort on everyone’s part.  I would just like to reemphasize how much we appreciate the efforts of Senator Baucus and Senator Tester,” added David Weissman, chairman of the Central Montana Defense Alliance.  “What we’ve done with them could not have been done without them.  They’ve been a valuable and vital partner in the work of the Central Montana Defense Alliance here in Great Falls and in Washington, D.C.” 

 

“On behalf of the Airport Authority, I want to thank both Senator Baucus and Senator Tester,” said John Faulkner, director of Great Falls International Airport.  “They worked tirelessly for this mission for Montana.  It will keep the jobs in our community and we love having a busy place of work up here on Gore Hill.  We’re very thankful that those Guard jobs will still be next door.”

 

Great Falls Mayor Michael Winters also joined today’s news conference, where Tester called the new mission ‘good news for the City of Great Falls and for the state of Montana.’

 

The C-130H is a highly valued mission that requires significant operations and maintenance personnel.  Additional details, including exact manpower numbers and the dates the aircraft will arrive, will be available after the President’s budget is released later this month.

 

The Senators will continue to work closely with MANG and the Great Falls community leaders until the C-130Hs land in Montana.

 

Baucus and Tester have made it their mission to keep a manned flying mission for Great Falls that plays a critical role in defending the country.  Tester recently told the Director of the Air National Guard, Lt. General Harry Wyatt, that MANG’s new mission must retain its outstanding airmen and make good use of the vast airspace over Montana.  Baucus secured Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s support for MANG before Panetta was confirmed.

 

Last week, the Pentagon announced $259 billion in cuts, including an entire training squadron of F-15s, five squadrons of A-10 aircraft, and one Guard squadron of F-16s that will be retired.  The moves will reduce the number of flying missions for the Air National Guard and reduce the number of Air Guardsmen nationally by 5,100. 

 

The C-130H is a four-engine transport aircraft that can fly up to 2,360 miles without refueling.  It can transport more than 90 passengers and 45,000 pounds of cargo.  It is also frequently used to fight wildfires and conduct search and rescue operations.

 

Below is a timeline of Baucus’ and Tester’s work in securing MANG’s new mission:

FEBRUARY 3, 2012

 

Tester and Baucus announced that the Montana Air National Guard would receive a manned flying mission – the C-130H cargo aircraft.

 

JANUARY 26, 2012

 

Tester spoke with the Director of the Air National Guard, General Harry Wyatt, and reiterated his efforts to make sure the Montana Air National Guard has a future manned flying mission.

 

NOVEMBER 15-16, 2011

 

Tester and Baucus hosted the Central Montana Defense Alliance in Washington for a meeting with U.S. Air Force leadership.

         

JULY 27, 2011

 

Tester met with U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta to discuss the F-15s and urged that any replacement mission be a manned flying mission with the goal of maintaining personnel levels.

 

JUNE 28, 2011

 

Tester and Baucus wrote a letter to General Norton Schwartz, Chief of Staff for the U.S. Air Force, and General Craig McKinley, Chief of the National Guard Bureau, to express concern that the C-27J proposal would be inadequate to maintain defense and homeland security efforts.

 

JUNE 15, 2011

 

Baucus met with U.S. Secretary of Defense nominee Leon Panetta to discuss the importance of MANG to Great Falls and to Montana.

 

MAY 24, 2011

 

Tester and Baucus hosted the Central Montana Defense Alliance in Washington for a meeting with Air Force leadership.

 

MARCH 16, 2011

 

Tester and Baucus sent a letter to U.S. Air Force Secretary Michael Donley in support of selecting MANG for the Target Production Group mission.

 

FEBRUARY 4, 2011

 

Tester met with Erin Conaton, Undersecretary of the U.S. Air Force to discuss future missions for MANG.

 

FEBRUARY 4, 2011

 

Tester was appointed to the Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Military Construction, which determines funding for military construction projects around the country and around the world.

 

NOVEMBER 30, 2010

 

Tester and Baucus hosted the Central Montana Defense Alliance in Washington for a meeting with the Director of the Air National Guard, General Harry Wyatt, and meetings with the Undersecretary of the Air Force for Installations, Ms. Kathleen Ferguson.

 

NOVEMBER 29, 2010

 

Tester, Baucus and Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer sent a letter to U.S. Air Force Secretary Michael Donley pressing for a new mission beyond the C-27J mission.

 

OCTOBER 8, 2010

 

Tester met with MANG leaders in Great Falls to discuss future mission opportunities.

 

JULY 29, 2010

 

Tester said he would “keep fighting for our Airmen, for Great Falls, and for the continued success of MANG” after the U.S. Air Force announced that Montana Air National Guard in Great Falls was a finalist for the C-27J Spartan aircraft operations.

 

APRIL 27, 2010

 

Tester and Baucus sent a letter to U.S. Air Force Secretary Michael Donley reiterating their opposition to the decision to move the F-15 mission away from MANG and calling for a strong replacement mission.

 

APRIL 15, 2010

 

Tester and Baucus met with U.S. Air Force Secretary Donley to express opposition to plans to move F-15 mission away from MANG and if the F-15 mission is to leave Montana, it must be replaced by a manned flying mission with the goal of maintaining personnel levels.

 

MARCH 10, 2010

 

Tester and Baucus met with Erin Conaton, then nominee for Undersecretary of the Air Force to express opposition to plans to move F-15 mission away from MANG and to urge again that if the F-15 mission is to leave Montana, it must be replaced by a manned flying mission with the goal of maintaining personnel levels.

 

FEBRUARY 26, 2010

 

Tester and Baucus sent a letter to U.S. Air Force Secretary Michael Donley stating that the 120th Fighter Wing had successfully converted to an F-15 mission well ahead of schedule and requesting a meeting to discuss the future of MANG.

 

FEBRUARY 24, 2010

 

Tester met with Erin Conaton, nominee to serve as Undersecretary of the U.S. Air Force to discuss cost estimates of moving F-15 mission away from MANG and to urge that if the F-15 mission is to leave Montana, it must be replaced by a manned flying mission with the goal of maintaining personnel levels.

 

FEBRUARY 11, 2010

 

Tester discussed the F-15 plan and the future of MANG with General Craig McKinley, Chief of the National Guard Bureau. He urged that if the F-15 mission is to leave Montana, it must be replaced by a manned flying mission with the goal of maintaining personnel levels.

 

OCTOBER 23, 2009

 

Tester and Baucus wrote to the U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard to highlight the BRAC language that directed the creation of the F-15 mission in Great Falls and to encourage consideration of future missions for the Montana Air National Guard.

 

MARCH 26, 2009

 

Baucus called Air Force Secretary Michael Donley to express opposition to plans to move F-15 mission away from MANG.

 

FEBRUARY 26, 2009

 

Tester and Baucus arranged meetings between leaders of the Great Falls community and Air Force Global Strike Commander Brigadier General James Kowalksi; Major General Alston; Deputy Assistant Secretary for Air Force Installations Kathleen Ferguson to discuss the future of MANG.

 

OCTOBER 16, 2008

 

Tester and Baucus called U.S. Air Force Secretary Nominee Michael Donley to express opposition to plans to move F-15 mission away from MANG. Donley committed to retaining F-15 mission at MANG for two years.

 

AUGUST 22, 2008

 

U.S. Air Force Secretary Nominee Michael Donley toured the Montana Air National Guard at Tester and Baucus’ invitation.

 

AUGUST 15, 2008

 

Tester and Baucus announced upcoming U.S. Air Force Secretary Nominee visit to Great Falls.

 

AUGUST 6, 2008

 

U.S. Air Force Secretary Nominee Michael Donley thanked Tester and Baucus for meeting to discuss the future of the Air Force presence in Montana. Secretary Donley said the Air Force would not reduce the F-15C inventory in the short-term as originally planned.

 

JULY 31, 2008

Tester and Baucus met with U.S. Air Force Secretary Nominee Michael Donley to argue against the Air Force’s plan to remove the F-15s from the Great Falls Air Guard Station. Tester and Baucus also invited the official to visit MANG.

 

-30-

 

Kate Downen 406-224-5056/Kathy Weber 406-329-7980/Jennifer Donohue 202-224-2651 (Baucus)

or

Andrea Helling/Dan Malessa – (202) 228-0371 (Tester)

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