VIENNA TWP., Ohio (WKBN) — A former Marine was on the base today at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station.

U.S. Senator JD Vance visited, got a tour and talked with personnel about the mission. He wanted to see it so he would have a better understanding of how to fight for it in the Senate.

Vance and 910th Airlift Wing Commander Jeff Van Dootingh had a half-hour meeting at the Air Reserve Station. It was the Senator’s first opportunity to see and hear about the mission.

Two C-130Hs were in the hangar still having their propellors fixed, and the Department of Defense has already promised eight of the plane’s newer models.

“The C-130J, as I learned today, is a little bit bigger, requires slightly different things. That means we’re going to have to make sure that we’re supporting that mission as these guys transition,” Vance said.

The new model climbs faster and higher. It’s 15 feet longer with more space inside for the tactical airlift mission but uses less distance for takeoff and landings. The 910th is just waiting for it.

“In fact, our headquarters will be out here next month for a meeting with us to sort of lay out exactly how we’re going to do that transition,” Dootingh said.

There’s one last hurdle to clear in the spring of summer before these planes go bye-bye. The new planes already have a delivery schedule. Two within a year from now and then six more over the next fourteen months.

Dootingh talked with Vance about work to be done on the runways and building a new gate entrance. That $8 million project has been approved and is out for bid.

“And that’s really what this is all about. [It] is making sure we continue to be a major part in the future of the U.S. military I think that with the colonel here and the great guys here. We’re going to do very well at that,” Vance said.

Vandootingh made sure that local companies can submit bids for the gate entrance project. Those bids are due this month.

One other thing First News learned while at the air station: an air show is probably not going to return. It just takes too much money out of the budget to handle.