“I am pleased that my Senate colleagues and I found a solution that would not only save, but increase and improve the C-130H presence at Fort Bragg, effectively stopping the Air Force leadership’s short-sighted and strategically flawed plan to remove all C-130Hs from Pope Airfield,” Tillis said in a statement. “Most importantly, this amendment ensures that the brave men and women of America’s global response force will continue to be trained, equipped, and ready to defend our nation at a moment’s notice.”
Critics of the Air Force plan to shutter the 440th say it does not make strategic or financial sense. Fort Bragg is the busiest U.S. military base for training airborne units—including the 82nd Airborne Division and special operations forces—and would have to call in planes from other bases if they were not permanently stationed there. The Air Force has also spent $2.3 billion modernizing the C-130 planes, but it now says it wants to abandon the aircraft.
Army leaders have also expressed opposition to removing the C-130s from Fort Bragg. “Of all places in the world, why would we take that capability away from Fort Bragg?” said Lt. Gen. Joseph Anderson, commander of Fort Bragg and the 18th Airborne Corps, in February.
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