Pentagon goes begging

A Pentagon plan to tap state air guard units for aircraft to replace Air Force planes is drawing opposition in Congress and the states.

Nevada’s is one of nine state guard units that would have to give up planes to replace aging Air Force cargo aircraft.

Nevada Adjutant General William Burks declined comment until after the matter is resolved in Congress, but in another affected state, West Virginia Adjutant General Allen Tackett said, “It’s a plane grab, that’s all it is. The Air Force doesn’t want to pay for new aircraft, so they are trying to steal them from the guard.”

There is conflicting information on the plan. By one account, the Air Force would move 11 or 12 reserve C-130s from bases across the country. Nevada, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota, New York and Texas would each lose one C-130, North Carolina and West Virginia would each lose two.

But the Air Force Times reported that besides those transfers of planes, “Six aircraft from the Puerto Rico Air Guard and seven from the Arkansas Air Guard would be retired, while four C-130s would be added to the Guard’s stock.” That would make 21 affected aircraft.

The National Guard Association of the U.S. and the Senate National Guard Caucus are both opposing the plan, with senators Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Kit Bond of Missouri leading efforts to kill it. The two senators said that guard units were not consulted before the plan was announced.