Air Force delays plans to eliminate Fort Bragg air unit
Posted July 14, 2015
FORT BRAGG, N.C. — The Air Force has delayed plans to do away with a group of transport planes based at Fort Bragg.
According to officials, the Air Force Reserve Command has delayed for at least a year plans to deactivate the 440th Airlift Wing.
The unit was scheduled to be inactivated in late September, but commander Col. Karl Schmitkons announced the delay in the July edition of the unit's newsletter, Combat Airlifter.
The 440th Airlift Wing flies C-130 aircraft that support training at Fort Bragg.
Schmitkons said the Air Force Reserve still plans to deactivate the wing, now scheduled for Sept. 30, 2016.
Col. Robert Palmer with the Air Force Reserve Command said the delay comes because of pending legislation.
“I am encouraged that the Air Force has finally seen the light," Republican 2nd District Congresswoman Renee Ellmers said in a statement. "While I’m glad to see the Air Force has delayed deactivation, it is pivotal that we maintain pressure so they stop pursuing this destructive proposal."
Ellmers said she wants the U.S. Secretary of Defense to personally certify that deactivation of the unit would not impact military readiness.
"Our paratroopers and our special forces literally at Fort Bragg have to be ready and go within hours of notice," she said. "You can see how that would impact greatly their ability to train at the level that they have to train."
"This decision should be more than a budget issue – it is critical for the current and future security of our nation," Republican U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis said in a statement. "Keeping the 440th Airlift Wing active for an additional year is the direct result of a concerted effort of North Carolina’s Congressional delegation to ensure that bureaucrats do not negatively hamper America’s combat readiness."