Airmen train while future at Bragg debated
Posted March 10, 2014
Updated March 11, 2014
Fort Bragg, N.C. — While their future is debated at the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill, members of the 440th Airlift Wing trained Monday to remain ready for action.
The Air Force has proposed cutting the 440th, stationed at Fort Bragg's Pope Air Field, in its next budget. If approved, the unit's 12 C130 cargo planes would be moved to other air bases, and more than 1,100 full- and part-time jobs would be eliminated.
"We have people that are so very well trained, so motivated, I'm worried that some will decide not to continue their service," said Col. Tom Hanson, a flight nurse who was part of a medical evacuation team training flight over the Outer Banks.
Capt. Mackenzie Johnson, a nurse at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center in Fayetteville and a flight nurse evaluator in the 440th, said that, if the unit is deactivated, she and others will have to make tough choices about whether to continue to make Fayetteville their home.
"It definitely would have to be something that I would have to consider," Johnson said. "Right now, I'd probably stay and have to commute, which would be more expense for me."
"I have a husband, no kids. but it'll definitely impact us," flight nurse First Lt. Alyssa Sandquist said. "This is the closest unit, Air Force unit, to me. I actually don't know what I'll do."
In addition to medical operations, the 440th provides airlift and airdrop operations and supports training and operational requirements of Air Force, Army and Joint Operations forces.
There is a possibility the Air Force could move newer C130-Js to Pope Air Field. If that happens, the 440th would stay at Fort Bragg, but everything remains up in the air.