Wicker Grills Air Force Chief on Keesler Transfer

Contributor: Rachael Thomas
Set Text Size SmallSet Text Size MediumSet Text Size LargeSet Text Size X-Large
Updated: 4/10/2014 2:44 pm
U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Thursday questioned Air Force Secretary Deborah James and the Air Force Chief of Staff, General Mark Welsh, about the Pentagon’s rationale for relocating ten C-130J aircraft from Keesler Air Force Base to Little Rock, Arkansas.

“I am concerned that the transfer of C-130Js from Keesler may not actually produce the savings that the Air Force predicts,” Wicker said. “Establishing a new group at Little Rock requires a substantial cost to relocate the planes and transfer hundreds of military and civilian full-time employees. The numbers don’t add up.”

Wicker’s comments came during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing to review the Air Force’s posture for Fiscal Year 2015.

“This proposal is not only shortsighted, but it may adversely impact our intra-theater airlift capability at a time when our services are evolving toward a more rotational deployment model,” Wicker continued. “I believe the Air Force must make force structure decisions based on long-term global force requirements, as well as concrete and defensible data.”

The proposed transfer of the C-130Js is the third attempt by the Air Force to move the aircraft in the past two years – first to Dobbins Reserve Base in Georgia and then to Pope Army Air Field in North Carolina.

The following questions were posed by Senator Wicker to Secretary James and General Welsh:

*What are the specific differences in costs to perform the C-130J flying mission at Keesler versus Little Rock?

*Is it correct that the Air Force’s proposal would move maintenance and wing management personnel from Keesler to Little Rock, where we would have to switch C-130 models and stand up another wing to support them?

*Will it be more cost-efficient to maintain the two C-130J squadrons at Keesler AFB? Will the new 913th Airlift Group require the movement or hiring of additional military and civilian employees?

*How does the Air Force save money by moving a squadron from Keesler Air Force Base, which has an existing maintenance capacity, existing wing management structure, and brand new ground infrastructure, to a base that will have four wings on it?

*How does the Air Force save money by moving C-130Js from a base with two C-130J squadrons, including a C-130J simulator, to a base that only has an Air Force Reserve Detachment that trains on legacy Air Guard C-130Hs?

In 2013, Keesler Air Force Base received the Commander-in-Chief's Installation Excellence award recognizing it as the top Air Force installation in the country.

51° Clear Feels Like: 51° F
High: 56° F
Low: 32° F
Wind: N 10 mph

Inergize Digital This site is hosted and managed by Inergize Digital.
Mobile advertising for this site is available on Local Ad Buy.
Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's FCC public inspection file should contact: WXXV TV Attn: Bobby Edwards 14351 Highway 49 Gulfport, MS 39503 Phone: 228-831-5200 Email: bedwards@wxxv25.com or Donna Ingram Phone: 228-831-5201 Email: dkgingram@wxxv25.com. To view our public file, visit the 'About WXXV' link at the top of this page. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 1-888-225-5322 or fccinfo@fcc.gov.

Copyright © 2015 WXXV-TV and Morris Networks of MS All Rights Reserved