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AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy — A new $2.8 million Airman and Family Readiness Center debuted Monday next to the base post office.

The 8,350-square-foot facility will offer a variety of services, including Right Start classes for newcomers, career and financial counseling and programs for those leaving the service.

Operations closed last week at the old facility located on Area 1 between the hospital and elementary school. The new facility houses 20 full-time employees and volunteers.

Ramstein gets back grounded ‘workhorse’It took six months, but one of Ramstein Air Base’s C-130 cargo aircraft is back and “100-percent safe to fly.”

The plane was grounded for months at the base in Germany after personnel with the 86th Maintenance Group found a “peculiar crack,” an Air Force news release said.

Engineers from Lockheed Martin Corp. and Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Georgia analyzed the crack while the plane went through a series of tests and inspections, the release said.

In addition to the thorough review of the aircraft, propulsion specialists refurbished all four engines.

“In the end, one of our trusty workhorses is back in the air ... and back in the fight,” 1st Lt. Brett Hansen of the 86th Maintenance Squadron said in the release.

The return of the plane comes at a time when the Ramstein-based 86th Airlift Wing is coping with aging C-130s to do the mission. The wing will receive the new C-130J sometime in 2009.

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