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Minnesota National Guard
What is the Future for Duluth's 148th Fighter Wing? (video)

By KBJR News 1
June 15, 2011 Updated Jun 15, 2011 at 6:25 PM CDT

Washington DC (The Northland's NewsCenter) - Several Duluth business leaders met with key military personnel behind closed doors at the Pentagon today to discuss bringing Active Association to Duluth

It's a move deemed essential for the future of the wing

Duluth Mayor Don Ness says, "We are prepared to do what's necessary to make sure this active association will be successful and can serve as a model for other communities across the country"

In a citizen led effort, Duluth Chamber of Commerce members, along with local and state officials, met with key military leaders in Washington

Aside from the military advantages of having guardsmen and active members working side by side, an active association with the career military would pump money into the local economy

Congressman Chip Cravaack weighs in

"It brings in business, it brings in people with good salaries and hopefully that can help the economy"
The 169th Fighter Wing out of South Carolina has had active association for years

169th Commander, Brigadier General Scott Williams, offers advice saying having the community on the front lines lobbying for active association is a good way to get it done

"Community support in Duluth is going to be imperative in the success for the young active association that's there"

It could also be important to the future of Duluth's 148th Fighter Wing

The wing's new Block 50 F-16 Aircraft are only slated to be operational for another 10 years

After that, the mission could be changed, or the base could close

Active Association would be a major step in securing another mission

Democratic Senator Al Franken says, "That will, I think, pave the way in keeping the 148th up there and keeping the base open well into the future"

If the active association, is approved it would bring from 40 to 60 active personnel to Duluth just as a beginning

After that, 'the sky is the limit' for what the 148th could do

In talking with sources who were at the meetings at the Pentagon today, it sounds like active association could be critical

Those we spoke with said for the 148th to get the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, Duluth would pretty much have to be selected for this Active Association

Written for the web by Chris Axelson
caxelson@northlandsnewscentercom

Article source, with video
http://www.northlandsnewscenter.com/news/local/What-is-the-Future-for-Duluths-148th-Fighter-Wing-123954339.html



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