WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Ohio Governor Ted Strickland today announced plans to save the Springfield Ohio Air National Guard Base (ANGB). The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) announced that the Springfield ANGB has been assigned a unit of MQ-1 aircraft, retaining 866 positions. The base will also retain jobs through an expansion of the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC), headquartered at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
"Investments in Springfield Air National Guard Base represent an opportunity to retain jobs and strengthen Springfield's regional economy," Brown said. "This new mission will allow the talented men and women of the Springfield base to continue to serve our nation. The base now has a bright future and will no longer rely on temporary missions to remain open. This success is the result of all-hands-on-deck collaboration between the federal and state government, the military, and the Dayton business community."
"We are grateful for today's news, which is first and foremost a recognition of the skill and dedication of the men and women of the 178th Fighter Wing," Strickland said. "This ensures that the Springfield base will remain an integral part of the Air Force's work and mission. The Air Force is innovating and modernizing, and these new operations will utilize Springfield's skilled workforce to ensure the base's viability as well as Ohio's position as an aerospace hub well into the future."
In 2005, the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC) ordered the relocation of the base's aircraft, eliminating a permanent mission for the base. The 178th Fighter Wing at Springfield was one of only three F-16 training units. The base graduated its final class of American pilots in December of last year. The Ohio delegation fought to create temporary missions to allow the base to remain in operation. Through these efforts, Springfield ANGB was charged with training foreign military units. The Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16 pilot training is currently centered on the base until it relocates in Sep. 2010.
Since Brown took office in 2007, he has been working alongside Governor Strickland to keep the base open by adding a new mission to replace the Dutch training mission. Beginning in July 2009, Brown has met with the White House on three separate occasions to discuss securing a new mission for the Springfield ANGB. He also met with Department of Defense Deputy Secretary William J. Lynn on three separate occasions: in July 2009, Nov. 2009, and March 2010, when he was joined by Governor Strickland.
On December 11, 2009, Brown led a letter signed by the Ohio delegation to Congressional Appropriations panel leaders urging funds to be appropriated to keep the Dutch training mission at Springfield. On January 20 and April 15, 2010 Brown and Strickland sent joint letters to Department of Defense Deputy Secretary William J. Lynn urging him to work to preserve Springfield ANGB. On April 16, 2010 Brown joined members of the Ohio delegation in a letter to General Norton A. Schwartz, Air Force Chief of Staff.