Pa. senator makes plea again to save 911th Airlift Wing

By LEXI BELCULFINE | The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | Published: January 23, 2014

PITTSBURGH, Pa. — A report expected to be released next week could put the 911th Airlift Wing in Moon on the chopping block once more, so today Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., will again make a case for the local Air Force base.

Accompanied by stakeholders of the 911th, the senator will unveil a letter detailing the "strategic and economic case" for the wing at a 2:30 p.m. news conference at the Allegheny County Courthouse, spokesman Jon Rizzo said.

That letter will be submitted to the National Commission on the Structure of the Air Force, which by Feb. 1 is to present the president and Congress with an analysis of and recommendations on the Air Force's structure. The report will detail which bases and installations to keep open.

Public comments, like Mr. Casey's, are being accepted until the end of the business day Tuesday and can be submitted through the commission's website, afcommission.whs.mil. The commission has received congressional comments spanning from a senator in Oregon to representatives in Massachusetts.

Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., has worked with Mr. Casey to ensure others see how important and cost-efficient the 911th is, spokesman Steven Kelly said.

It is unclear if the commission will target the 911th wing, although the future of the base has been in question for some time. In March, military leaders reversed an earlier decision to close the base in Moon by September. It was estimated then that the closure would save the Air Force $354 million.

In July, Mr. Casey appealed to the Air Force, urging it to use the Moon location as a role model for other bases after a visit from then acting Air Force secretary Eric Fanning.


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