Sen. Portman: Youngstown Air Reserve’s equipment ‘outdated’

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VIENNA, Ohio (WYTV) – The Youngstown Air Reserve Station, made up of 1,300 airmen, is the fourth largest employer in the Valley and it’s important that it receives adequate funding.

YARS has been getting help from our Congressional delegation to cement its future. The most important part is staying away from the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) list.

“There’s no Base Realignment and Closure in the near future, but there are always people in the Pentagon looking to downsize, looking to streamline as we should,” Congressman Tim Ryan said.

The biggest change the 910th Airlift Wing would like to see is new aircraft.

It has a major mission later this summer in the Middle East. Its primary mission has been tactical airlift, transporting troops and supplies around the world.

“If we want that mission to remain here, then we need the next and best aircraft that’s available,” said Colonel James Dignan, YARS Commander. “That’s the C130Js, which are coming off the assembly line today.”

“We’re working with equipment that is so old, some of it you have to make the parts here at the machine shop because you can’t buy them anymore. They’re outdated and that’s not fair,” Senator Rob Portman said.

Portman sent a letter to the Defense Department on Thursday, asking why its spray mission hasn’t been included in the fight against Zika.

As for the base’s future, Congressman Bill Johnson believes there is plenty of room for growth in the Defense Department’s $574 billion budget.

“You could have fighters here, you could have transport planes, you could have bombers here because you have the runway length to be able to do those types of things,” he said.

One of the Congressmen also said that Colonel Dignan is moving on. Dignan says his command time is up at YARS and the Department of Defense will be moving him. That announcement is expected later this summer.

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Mel Robbins Main Area Middle

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