| Senator Seeks Active Designation For The 148th In Duluth
Updated Aug 3, 2011 at 1:45 PM CDT
Minneapolis, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) US Senator Amy Klobuchar is urging the US Air Force to designate the 148th Fighter Wing at the Duluth Air National Guard Base as an “active association” wing
Klobuchar will be in Duluth this Friday afternoon to meet with commanders from the 148th as well as business and community leaders from the Duluth area
They are working together on a coordinated effort to secure approval from the Air Force
The Friday meeting will be at 2:00 pm at the 148th Fighter Wing
“Active association” is a program that assigns active-duty Air Force personnel to National Guard bases It allows regular active-duty airmen to work side-by-side with National Guard airmen and learn from their experience and expertise
“Active association at the 148th Fighter Wing would provide excellent training opportunities for active-duty airmen,” Klobuchar wrote in her letter
Klobuchar noted that active association designation for the Duluth airbase would help the Air Force reduce costs while improving combat readiness
In a letter Wednesday to Air Force Secretary Michael B Donley, Klobuchar wrote: “Active association at the 148th Fighter Wing would ensure a strong network of support for an active duty unit at a significantly lower cost to the Air Force
The Duluth community provides a vibrant infrastructure to support the wing, including access to affordable housing, transportation, education, and recreation
Stationing an active duty unit at the 148th Fighter Wing, rather than at an active duty airbase, would ensure the highest level of support to the unit members and their families while reducing the Air Force’s operations costs”
Active association designation could bring upwards of 60 active-duty Air Force personnel to Duluth
Currently, the presence of the 148th currently accounts for more than $100 million in annual revenue in the Duluth area
Klobuchar has also noted that active association would help ensure the Duluth airbase’s long-term future and bring increased revenue to the Duluth area economy
Under active association, the Air National Guard unit serves as the host wing and maintains primary responsibility for weapons systems, but shares the mission with the regular Air Force associate wing
During her time in the Senate, Klobuchar has worked hard to sustain the long-term viability and success of the 148th
Last year, she helped secure 18 Block 50 F-16s for the Duluth airbase
She is also working with the Air Force to acquire F-35 planes in the future
Earlier this year retired Brig Gen Tim Cossalter, former commander of the 148th, joined Klobuchar’s Minnesota staff as outreach director for veterans affairs and military issues
Below is the text of Klobuchar’s letter to the Secretary of the Air Force:
August 3, 2011
The Honorable Michael B Donley"¨Secretary of the Air Force"¨1670 Air Force Pentagon"¨
Washington, DC 20330-1670
Dear Secretary Donley:
I write to express my strong support for designating the 148th Fighter Wing at the Duluth Air National Guard Base in Duluth, MN, as an “active association” wing As you review potential force structure changes in the coming fiscal year, I respectfully urge you to consider active association at Duluth as a means to reduce costs while improving the mission readiness of active duty airmen
Active association at the 148th Fighter Wing would provide excellent training opportunities for active duty airmen As you know, the 148th Fighter Wing recently won the Raytheon Trophy for Best Air Superiority Squadron and has received “Excellent” or “Outstanding” ratings on all 15 of its most recent major inspections In addition, the wing maintains exclusive ownership and scheduling rights for one of the largest airspace complexes in the nation Providing an active duty unit with the opportunity to train at Duluth’s spacious campus alongside the experienced personnel of the 148th would considerably strengthen its mission capability and increase its combat readiness
Active association at the 148th Fighter Wing would also ensure a strong network of support for an active duty unit at a significantly lower cost to the Air Force The Duluth community provides a vibrant infrastructure to support the wing, including access to affordable housing, transportation, education, and recreation Stationing an active duty unit at the 148th Fighter Wing, rather than at an active duty airbase, would ensure the highest level of support to the unit members and their families while reducing the Air Force’s operations costs
During my time in the Senate, I have worked hard to sustain the long-term viability of the 148th With your support, we helped bring 18 Block 50 F-16s to the wing last year, and I look forward to working with the Air Force to acquire F-35 planes for the wing in the future I have met several times with the Minnesota Air National Guard and the Military Affairs Committee of the Duluth Chamber of Commerce to discuss the issue of active association Both organizations are fully committed to ensuring a seamless transition to active association at the 148th Fighter Wing
Northeastern Minnesota has a strong tradition of military support, and we would be proud to welcome an active duty unit to live and train alongside our Duluth “Bulldogs” Thank you for your consideration of this request, and I look forward to working with you to support the men and women of our Air Force
Sincerely, "¨Amy Klobuchar"¨
United States Senator
Woman's Veterans Initiative Shows Major Muscle with Habitat for Humanity Build
Posted: 2015-11-25 09:37 AM
ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Minnesota Women Veterans Initiative (WVI), a group orientated toward networking Minnesota women military members and veterans brought 16 service(wo)men from all services, ages and backgrounds together, November 12, to assist in a Habitat for Humanity build. Eleven of the 16 women are current or former Minnesota National Guardsmen.
"We started celebrating Veterans Day this way in 2008 with Habitat for Humanity and enjoy coming back each year to build," said Trista Matascastillo, program officer for Veterans Voices and chairman for the WVI. "We learn new skills, build our own confidence and make new friends. There are 27,000-plus women vets in Minnesota and so often we hear that women veterans feel isolated and alone and having events like this is just another way to bring us out and together."
The group started in the morning with a brief on the tasks for the day and quickly got to work, going above and beyond by organizing the work-site and making sure there was a high attention to detail.
Empowering Girls and Influencing the Next Generation
Posted: 2015-11-17 10:51 AM
ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Minnesota Air National Guard and the Soroptimist International of the Twin Cities partnered together to present the documentary film 'Girl Rising' at the 133rd Airlift Wing on Saturday, Nov 7 2015.
The event featured a C-130 tour for any of the attendees, which included girls as young as nine. Following the tour, the documentary film 'Girl Rising' was featured and ended with a panel discussion. Topics included overcoming obstacles, mentors and people who have inspired them along the way.
"I think events like this are essential in opening our doors to the community and raising awareness about important issues not only local, but around the world - often these are places many of our wing members have deployed to," said Master Sgt. Theresa Mensinger, Diversity and Inclusion Senior Non-commissioned officer.
Duluth's 148th Fighter Wing has new leader
Posted: 2015-11-16 07:47 AM
DULUTH, Minn. - With the handing-off of the 148th Fighter Wing's flag on Saturday, Col. Jon Safstrom has become the new wing commander.
The Duluth native assumed the leadership role from Col. Frank Stokes, who is leaving Duluth after leading the 148th for more than six years to become chief of current operations at the National Guard Bureau in Arlington, Va.
During Saturday's Change of Command Ceremony at the Minnesota Air National Guard base in Duluth, Stokes passed the flag of the 148th "Bulldogs" to Brig. Gen. David Hamlar, who then passed the flag to Safstrom, symbolizing the accepting of the command.
133AW and Best Buy Corporate join together to support Operation Gratitude
Posted: 2015-11-12 12:51 PM
BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - Airmen from the 133rd Airlift Wing and employees from Best Buy Corporate joined forces to support Operation Gratitude at the Best Buy corporate headquarters in Bloomington, Minn., Friday, Nov. 6, 2015.
Operation Gratitude is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, volunteer-based corporation, funded entirely by private donations. Every year, Operation Gratitude sends more than 150,000 individually-addressed care packages to Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines deployed overseas.
On Friday, more than 30 members from the 133rd Airlift Wing worked side-by-side with employees of Best Buy Corporate to pack bags filled with snacks, small electronics and other items to be shipped to deployed military members overseas. The efforts paid off and the group packed nearly 1,800 bags in under an hour.