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Guard’s 130th Airlift Wing chosen as site for new C-130 planes


CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The U.S. Air Force says it wants the Charleston-based 130th Airlift Wing of the West Virginia Air National Guard to be home to its new C-130 aircraft program.

The Air Force announced Tuesday its selection of McLaughlin Air National Guard Base at Yeager Airport as a preferred site to convert to the new C-130J-30 Super Hercules. The selection will be finalized once an environmental impact assessment is finalized. The base is expected to receive several new cargo planes.

According to the Air Force, the site was chosen because of the 130th Airlift Wing’s track record with C-130 aircraft including a high mission capability rate and retention rate.

Gov. Jim Justice and members of West Virginia’s congressional delegation all praised the Air Force’s decision which means newer larger planes will be located in West Virginia where they will receive maintenance and be used for various missions.

Justice said the West Virginia National Guard’s track record goes a long way.

“When people are in trouble, they always run to the fire. When it comes to Charleston being selected as a base to upgrade these aircraft, I know that the men and women with the 130th Airlift Wing will do whatever it takes to make our nation proud,” Justice’s statement said.

U.S. Joe Manchin called the announcement “fantastic news.”

“The West Virginia National Guard is exceptional and has worked tirelessly to ensure the 130th Airlift Wing in Charleston is the best home for the Air National Guard C-130J Recapitalization and Basing program. I am pleased to see their hard work pay off. This growing partnership will reap benefits for our entire state as the men and women of our National Guard are able to fulfill an expanded role with more capable and modern aircraft, and I know that our National Guard will continue to represent West Virginia well,” Manchin said.

U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito said the news was good for Charleston and the entire state.

“Our National Guard works around the clock tirelessly in service to our residents. It is truly great to see due recognition come their way. Replacing the current C-130H planes with the modernized C-130Js will help grow opportunities within our state, and continue to foster positive relationships that enhance training partnerships between the West Virginia National Guard and military units from throughout the country. I am grateful to play a role in this exciting announcement and look forward to the benefits it will bring West Virginia,” Capito said.

Second District Congressman Alex Mooney also congratulated the 130th Airlift Wing.

“This means that our brave U.S. servicemen and women will be trained on these airplanes right here in West Virginia. I was glad to make the case for the Mountain State alongside my colleagues in the West Virginia delegation,” Mooney said.

“It is an exciting time to be a member of the 130th Airlift Wing,” Col. Bryan Preece, commander of the 130th Airlift Wing said in a new release. “These new C-130J Super Hercules aircraft will keep the unit viable well into the future. I am confident that the men and women of the 130th Airlift Wing will meet the challenges associated with this mission and changes that come with it with the same dedication this organization has demonstrated since 1955.”

The 130th Airlift Wing has been part of the Air Force’s C-130 program since 1975.