VIENNA, Ohio (WKBN) – The deal Congressional negotiators reached Thursday on national defense funding is big news for the Youngstown Air Reserve Station.
Ohio senators want the 910th Airlift Wing’s planes upgraded because they fly important missions, including one in the Middle East this summer. The 910th Airlift Wing wants to keep doing them safely and without interruption, and newer planes would help.
“They’ve got great pilots, great mechanics, they’re doing everything right,” said Sen. Rob Portman. “But their equipment is really outdated. It dates back a few generations in some cases.”
Youngstown flies the C-130 H model but the C-130 J has updated systems for communications, navigation and other things to help the Air Force flyers.
“Everything from the avionics to the airframe itself needs to be upgraded. We put in place in this legislation, a process to upgrade those kinds of planes,” Portman said.
That means the amendment senators added directs the Air Force to report on how it will prioritize upgrades.
“There are probably three or four other reserve stations that would be affected by this, but ours is one of the most important ones.”
There are 1,300 air men and women who serve the country through the Youngstown Air Reserve Station, which is the fourth largest employer in the Valley.
The $9 billion measure is an important one to get finished in the president’s final weeks. Portman says he’s ready for President-elect Trump’s cabinet nominations and wants to move them through as quickly as possible.
“I want them to be successful because I want our country to be successful. So I’m trying to be as helpful as possible to find the right people who are willing to serve their country, and I think having some outside people come in is a good idea. Fresh ideas is a good thing.”
Portman says the tax code is broken so, in his mind, one of the most important issues for new ideas is tax reform.