Jul 13 2015

Col. Robert Palmer, spokesman for Air Force Reserve Command, said the decision to delay the inactivation came about because of pending legislation that is part of the National Defense Authorization Act.

Sen. Thom Tillis and Rep. Renee Ellmers have amendments in the Senate and House versions of the bill that would delay the 440th inactivation.

In the Senate version of the bill, Tillis' amendment would require the 18th Airborne Corps, 82nd Airborne Division and U.S. Army Special Operations Command to certify that the loss of the 440th would not harm training at the nation's largest military installation before the unit would be permitted to be deactivated.

Robert Wilkie, senior policy advisor for Tillis, said the delay was a sign the Air Force is "starting to see the writing on the wall."

"The fate of the 440th is not simply an Air Force budget issue, it is a national security issue, Wilkie said. "Its recent announcement to keep the 440th Air Lift Wing open for another year is the result of Senator Tillis' unwavering stance on retaining the C-130Hs at the wing."

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