WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Fayetteville Observer reported that the Air Force is delaying its plans to deactivate Fort Bragg’s 440th Airlift Wing for one year as a result of a sustained push by North Carolina’s Congressional delegation to stop the deactivation, a short-sighted decision that would negatively impact America’s overall combat readiness and national security.
Tillis has noted the emphasis on the effort to save the 440th Airlift Wing has always been focused on what is best for America’s tip of the spear, Fort Bragg, and not the strategically flawed budget decisions made by the Pentagon.
Tillis has led the effort to save the 440th Airlift Wing, securing an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of Fiscal Year 2016 that requires the commanders of the XVIII Airborne Corps, 82nd Airborne Division and the United States Army Special Operations Command to certify that the removal of C-130Hs from Fort Bragg's Pope Airfield will not adversely impact the daily training requirements of airborne and special operations units. If the commanders do not certify the removal, then the C-130Hs will remain at Pope Airfield.
The Senate also passed another Tillis amendment which would relocate nine previously upgraded C-130H aircraft to Pope Airfield in the event that the Air Force follows through on its plan to deactivate the 440th Airlift Wing by removing six older C-130Hs presently stationed at Pope Airfield.
“I’m pleased the Air Force has decided to delay the deactivation of the 440th Airlift Wing, as this decision should be more than a budget issue – it is critical for the current and future security of our nation,” said Senator Tillis. “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. I will continue to work with my colleagues to help save the 440th Airlift Wing and protect the C-130H presence at Pope Airfield.”