Posted: Apr 18, 2013 12:33 PM by Erin Schermele - MTN News
GREAT FALLS - The F-15's at the Montana Air National Guard are one signature away from being moved to Fresno, California.
A Pentagon spokeswoman says the mission could begin its transition as soon as the end of this month, but one former Montana Air National Guard official isn't giving up yet.
"All we're saying is wait for a while. There are two Air Force studies being done right now to determine the right mix of the Guard and the Air Force, and those studies won't occur until late this summer,"Retired Brig. Gen. Rex Tanberg, the former commander of the 120th Fighter Wing, said.
"So here we are moving these airplanes at a time when they are laying people off, having people take every Friday off...a lot of cost savings is going on, but meanwhile we are spending all this money," he added.
The transfer of the F-15 mission is awaiting approval of an environmental impact study before it officially goes into effect. Once that happens, the Montana Air national Guard is scheduled to receive a C-130 cargo plane mission, but not from Texas as previously reported.
Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester say that $22 million is budgeted to prepare for the new mission, and they are pushing to ensure a seamless transition for the Guard and the community.
The C-130's are reportedly coming from various bases across the country and are scheduled to arrive between October and December of this year.