WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today applauded the Senate’s approval of the Fiscal Year 2013 Defense Authorization (NDAA) bill, which includes a “strategic pause” for the Air Force proposal to end the C-27J flying mission at Mansfield. The move will preserve planes and personnel tied to the C-27J program at the Mansfield Air National Guard Base (ANGB) for at least an additional year.
“The damage caused by Hurricane Sandy reminded us all of the vital role the C-27J program and the men and women of the 179th play in responding to domestic crises,” Brown said. “This legislation will ensure that aircraft and personnel at the Mansfield Air National Guard Base remain intact for the following year, while giving Congress time to devise a long-term solution. The Ohio Congressional delegation—Democratic and Republican members alike—must work together to save this vital base in the months and years to come.”
Brown has consistently stood against the proposals to eliminate the C-27J program, which would affect hundreds of National Guard positions in Mansfield. In March, he visited the Mansfield Air National Guard to stand with the Ohio Air National Guard and the greater Mansfield community in opposition to the proposed elimination of the C-27J program, and convened a meeting between Members of the Ohio Congressional delegation and Air Force Secretary Michael Donley.
In January, Brown urged President Obama to reject proposals to eliminate the C-27J program, and in December, wrote to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta urging him to delay a decision on the future of the C-27J program until Panetta meets with all relevant stakeholders and fully considers the ramifications of ending the C-27J procurement. In April 2012, Brown wrote to Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) urging preservation of the C-27J program.
Brown visited the base in October 2011 to tour the new Armed Forces Reserve Center and Rapid Engineers Deployable Heavy Operations Repair Squadron Engineers (RED HORSE) facility. He also visited the base in August 2010 to celebrate a new mission for the 179th Airlift Wing. The 179th Airlift Wing recently became a Joint Air-Army base with the addition of the Army Ohio National Guard's new fire station in May 2010.
In 2005, the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC) recommended that the 179th Airlift Wing be dismantled. The base’s service record, along with actions taken by the Ohio Congressional delegation, kept the base open and transformed it into a joint base. Brown has worked with the White House, Administration officials and Air Force and National Guard personnel to secure the new mission for the Mansfield ANGB.