Minnesota National Guard
Governor Pawlenty sends letter to Air Force Secretary regarding plan to move C-130s from Minnesota

Governor Tim Pawlenty April 2, 2010 sent a letter to Air Force Secretary Michael Donley asking him to reconsider an Air Force plan to move a dozen C-130 cargo planes from Air National Guard units in nine states, including Minnesota,  and 6 C-130s from Air Force Reserve units, to an active-duty unit in Arkansas.

The Air Force plan is part of the Pentagon's fiscal year 2011 budget request and only recently came to the attention of lawmakers and governors.  Governor Pawlenty is the first governor to send a letter to Secretary Donley on the issue.

Under the plan, two C-130s would be moved from Minnesota, one based at the Minnesota Air National Guard's 133rd Airlift Wing and one based at the Air Force Reserve's 934th Air Wing.  Governor Pawlenty wrote that the move "will negatively impact the operations of these two excellent units."

The 934th Air Wing, also known as the "Flying Vikings," is Minnesota's only Air Force Reserve unit.

The Minnesota National Guard's 133rd Air Wing provides the U.S. Air Force with tactical airlift of troops, cargo, and medical patients anywhere in the world.  The 133rd Airlift Wing is also prepared to support the State of Minnesota with troops capable of assisting in a disaster.  In 2009, the 133rd Airlift Wing deployed more than 300 Airmen to Iraq and Afghanistan.  In 2010, the 133rd Airlift Wing provided two C-130 H3 Hercules cargo airplanes, crews and support staff to support Haitian earthquake relief operations.  The C-130 crews flew missions to Port au Prince, Haiti and San Isidro, Dominican Republic, hauling water, personnel, equipment and other critical supplies totaling nearly 16 tons.  

For more information about the Minnesota National Guard contact Captain Randy Belden at Randolph.J.Belden@us.army.mil

The Governor's letter to Secretary Donley:

The Honorable Michael B. Donley
Secretary of the Air Force
1670 Air Force Pentagon
Washington, DC 20330-1670

Dear Secretary Donley:

I write to ask that you reconsider the recent decision to move C-130 aircraft from the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve to the Air Force, including two C-130s currently based in Minnesota.

The decision to take aircraft from the Minnesota Air National Guard 133rd Air Wing and the Air Force Reserve's 934th Air Wing, based at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, will negatively impact the operations of these two excellent units.

Furthermore, the Department of Defense's Governor Council was created precisely to assist the Department with this type of decision, but the Council was not afforded the opportunity to address this important issue. If you choose to reconsider this decision, I urge you to take advantage of the Council's perspective in this matter.

Minnesota is very proud of Minnesota's Air Wings and their perennial recognition as an Outstanding Air Wing by the Air Force. Because of this outstanding service, I urge you to consider other alternatives, including active associate relationships that place active duty crews at the Air Guard and Reserve bases. This approach would increase operational rates while maintaining jobs.

As the Commander-in-Chief of the Minnesota Air National Guard, I know the impact they make in our state and the dedicated support they provide to our national defense. For these reasons, I urge you to reconsider the decision to move C-130 aircraft from our Air Guard and Air Reserve.


Tim Pawlenty

posted:April 5th, 2010

Article source: http://www.americantowns.com/mn/saintpaul/news/

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