Sen. Kay Hagan on Tuesday released a letter she sent to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel asking him to keep C-130 aircraft at Pope Army Airfield.
The most recent Obama administration budget proposal included a plan to inactivate the 440th Airlift Wing at Pope Airfield at Fort Bragg.
“I strongly oppose inactivating the Air Force’s 440th Airlift Wing from Pope Army Airfield,” Hagan said in a news release on Tuesday. “Without the 440th, there would be no Air Force planes stationed at Fort Bragg providing critical support to the 82nd Airborne Division and other major units. I am committed to fighting this decision that will adversely affect the readiness of troops at Fort Bragg and cost North Carolina over 1,100 jobs.”
In March 2013, the Air Force said it would bring newer C-130Js to Pope Airfield and move the C-130Hs stationed there to other places, Hagan wrote in the letter to Hagel. But recently the Air Force changed plans and proposed to cancel the move of the C-130Js to the airfield while still transferring the C130-Hs out.
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“I believe that Congress should have the opportunity to participate in decisions of this significance through the authorization process,” Hagan wrote in the letter to the defense secretary.
She urged the Air Force not to make any changes from the plans already authorized by Congress. That means the Air Force could continue to replace the older aircraft with the newer ones.
Hagan is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
The Democratic senator was scheduled to meet on Tuesday with Lt. Gen. James Jackson, Chief of the Air Force Reserves, and would ask him about the plans for the 440th Airlift Wing, her office said. She also planned to raise the issue at a meeting of the committee with Air Force officials on Thursday.
The 440th Airlift Wing was active in the Iraq war. Its maintenance and operations groups supply a large portion of the C-130 airlift in the Middle East, according to its website.