Gov. Corbett, in Speech, Backs Efforts to Save 911th Airlift Wing

The Pennsylvania governor speaks at the Moon Township-based air wing, urging military officials to scrap plans to shutter the base.

Standing beneath the wings of a C-130 aircraft at the 911th Airlift Wing, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett said he would work with Pennsylvania's federal lawmakers to fight renewed plans to close the Moon Township air base. 

Corbett, appearing alongside Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair, and state Sen. Matt Smith, D-Mt. Lebanon, implored military officials and federal lawmakers to end efforts to close the 911th as a cost-saving measure. 

"I'm going to ask our (Pennsylvania) congressional delegation to do whatever they need to do to save this base," Corbett said. 

The U.S. Air Force has again taken initial steps toward closing the airlift wing after March 2013— after the expiration of a law put in place to delay a closure. 

Military officials said closing the 911th, which employs 1,100 military and 300 civilian personnel, would save $350 million. All personnel positions on the base would be eliminated under the proposed closure. 

"The thought process of reducing the Air Reserve at the benefit of active duty (Air Force) is a mistake, in my opinion," Corbett said. 

The governor pointed to the relationship between the Pittsburgh International Airport and the 911th as a reason for maintaining the base. The airport supplies runways and services such as snow removal to the air reserve base at an annual cost of $20,000.

Speaking at the event, Fitzgerald called the cost-savings model "the best deal around." 

Corbett also touted the "value of our citizen soldiers" who serve at the base.

"(The 911th) is an employer," Corbett said. "It employs thousands of people, whether directly on the base or off the base." 

Officials have cited the wing's aging C-130 aircraft, which are among the oldest still flying in the military, as a reason for the closure. 

"At first (the Air Force) based (the closure) on the number of civilian personnel at the base," Murphy said. "But when they found out they didn't have that, they walked back on that to try to justify their position."

Corbett said he has written a letter to U.S. Department of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in which he's explained the importance of the base to the region.

"This is a bipartisan effort," Corbett said of efforts to prevent the closure. "This is Democrat and Republican."

Robert December 29, 2012 at 08:06 PM
if that so called governor corbin wants to spend money....let him spend it on food and housing and education in the poor neighbothoods where he has drasticly cut funding. What a great job the voters of our state did to elect a republican.....now you must suffer the consequences. Keep voting against your own interests.....and keep your heads up your butts in the upcomming elections.
MSgt. John DeLallo December 30, 2012 at 01:02 AM
Robert: The wages, salaries, aircraft, aircraft spares, plant facility and even the Base Exchange are all funded by the Department of Defense, not the Commonwealth. Your blustering comments are indicative of a person that knows not one nit about the Patriots that bust their butts every day so you can post misinformation about "so called governor corbin". Since you obviously have no respect whatever for the sacrifices made by members of the 911th TAW, and have no knowledge whatever of what a bargain the 911th is in terms of operational costs, and who pays those costs, may I politely recommend you refrain from making a complete fool of yourself?


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »