FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – At a press conference Friday afternoon at the 122nd Fighter Wing, it was announced that the 122nd will not be shutting down but will be losing a key component to their everyday work.
In the fall of this year, 21 A-10s will be removed from Fort Wayne's Indiana Air National Guard Base. Where they will be commissioned and if they will continue to be used has not yet been determined.
Despite losing the A-10s, the 122nd Fighter Wing is expected to receive between nine and 11 MC-12s. MC-12s are used for intelligence gathering and reconnaissance.
It is unclear, according to Col. David L. Augustine, what personnel changes will occur as a result of losing the A-10s.
Augustine says the base is obviously thrilled that it will not be closing, but he acknowledges that a 65 year history flying fighter jets is at stake.
“The base will not close as speculated, but if not reversed, it's going to end a history of legacy of proud service flying fighter aircraft since 1947 at Fort Wayne Air National Guard Base.”
Mayor Tom Henry (D) and U.S. Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-03) have both released statements saying they will continue to fight for the 122nd to ensure that job loss is kept at a minimum. Henry said political leaders at all levels were surprised by the decision to cut the A-10s from the 122nd.
“Well unfortunately, many of us did not know what was going on behind the scenes. This announcement came as a surprise to us as it did I think to the servicemen and women out here. It was just a recent announcement. So now, we’re in a scurrying mode trying to do the best we can with a relatively short time period.”
Henry says the base accounts for close to $60 million in yearly economic impact for the region.
Changes that will soon be noticed at the 122nd Fighter Wing are sure to shake things up according to Augustine. He says that there will be personnel who will be “depressed” with the news but also says the base will embrace the MC-12s.
“I'll be honest with you. I mean in the end, if we do move out of the A-10c and there's no ability to reverse that decision, we'll fly them with honor. We'll do the best job possible and that's what the 122nd Fighter Wing has always done, so I promise you that.”
There will be a press conference Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. at the 122nd to further address personnel changes and details surrounding the addition of the MC-12s.
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