Local leaders and elected officials are lobbying the Air Force to select the 911th Airlift Wing at Pittsburgh Air Reserve Station to host a new C-17 Globemaster squadron.
An Air Force Reserve Command team recently evaluated the base, and officials could make a decision in the next month, reported the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Replacing the unit’s eight C-130s with eight C-17s would add 100 to 200 full-time jobs and increase its reserve ranks, said 911th spokesman Jacob Morgan. The wing has about 1,200 reservists and 300 full-time military and civilian employees.
In a letter to Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James, Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey (D) noted that the 911th has been used extensively around the globe. “The 911th averages 800 airdrops annually and has supported combatant commands in more than 80 locations abroad over the past five years,” Casey stated.
Because the Air National Guard’s 171st Air Refueling Wing also is located at Pittsburgh International Airport, the two units could conduct air-to-air refueling training, Casey added.
The Allegheny County Airport Authority has offered to extend the base’s lease to 2048 and add 25 acres to the site to accommodate the larger aircraft. “We are working with our military partners to put them in the best position possible to be successful in their mission or any future changes,” said airport authority spokesman Bob Kerlik.
Lt. Gov. Mike Stack, chairman of the Pennsylvania Military Community Enhancement Commission, said the host community would provide outstanding support for a C-17 mission.
“Our state would enthusiastically welcome the C-17,” Stack wrote Lt. Gen. James Jackson, chief of staff for the Air Force Reserve. “The 911th Airlift Wing has a half-century-long history of service to our country and a strong community presence, one in which Western Pennsylvanians take great pride.”