October 24, 2016
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) joined Representative Sam Graves (Mo.) to publicly call on the Air Force to fix funding issues facing the 139th Airlift Wing. Specifically, funding gaps for the Weapon Instructor Course and the Advance Airlift Tactics Training Center put training programs for the C-130H fleet in serious jeopardy.
“The 139th Airlift Wing plays a critical role in sustaining the readiness of the C-130H fleet through its Weapon Instructor Course and Advance Airlift Tactics Training Center,” Blunt said. “It is imperative that the 139th has stable, dedicated, annual resources to support its mission. I’ve been proud to support the 139th and its outstanding personnel, and will continue working to ensure they have what they need to keep Americans safe.”
The Weapon Instructor Course was added to the program of the Advance Airlift Tactics Training Center at the 139th in 2014. Since then, St. Joe has hosted pilots and other support personnel from around the world for state of the art training on operation of the C-130H.
“We know how important the C-130H is towards providing support to U.S. soldiers across the globe,” Rep. Graves said. “But if we don’t invest in tactical and operational training for the aircraft, fleets at Rosecrans and other Air National Guard bases across the country will quickly become very expensive artifacts. The 139th plays a critical role in preparing Air National Guard units to take advantage of these powerful airplanes, and I hope the Air Force and the Department of Defense will act quickly to preserve our base’s ability to continue doing just that.”
Blunt and Graves sent a letter to Air National Guard Director, Lieutenant General L. Scott Rice outlining the importance of these courses and making the case for Rosecrans to continue housing the training operations.