YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Nearly 2,000 people work at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station in Vienna, home of eight of the C-130Hs that can often be seen flying over Youngstown. On Thursday, Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall announced the news so many people, including those working there, have been waiting for. Kendall has selected Youngstown as the preferred location to replace the C-130Hs with eight new, high-tech C-130Js.
Youngstown-area State Senator Mike Rulli was all smiles Thursday evening after learning the news.
“It’s jubilant. I mean, we’re just over the moon,” he said.
Kendall stated that Youngstown was selected based on factors related to its aerial spray mission, infrastructure capacity, community support, environmental considerations and cost.
The new C-130Js look similar to the C-130Hs, only sleeker and more modern. The C-130Js can climb faster and higher, fly farther at a higher cruise speed and take off and land in a shorter distance.
Getting the C-130Js to Youngstown was a seven-year process.
“We have to give a shoutout to our federal guys, whether it’s Rob Portman, Sherrod Brown, Tim Ryan, Bill Johnson. It’s all of those guys working together,” Rulli said.
“Today’s announcement is the culmination of many years of effort in concert with my Ohio delegation colleagues and I couldn’t be prouder to have helped make it happen,” Ryan said.
“I’m grateful that the Air Force Reserve Command, and Secretary Frank Kendall, recognized how important Youngstown Air Reserve Station is to our national security and selected it as the preferred location for eight C-130Js,” Brown said.
“[It] will allow the 910th to continue to answer our nation’s call anywhere around the globe for the foreseeable future,” said YARS commander Colonel Jeff Van Dootingh.
“What this news does is secure the future of the Youngstown Air Reserve Station. It also tells us the base is an integral part of our National Defense System. What wonderful news for all the professionals who work at the base and for Trumbull County’s economy,” said State Senator Sandy O’Brien.
“It’s also having a ripple effect for other entities to want to provide the facility with enhanced, state-of-the-art military equipment,” said State Representative Mike Loychik, who has the base in his district.
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Though Thursday’s announcement from the Air Force is encouraging, it is not final. The Air Force will now conduct an environmental impact analysis, which should be done next summer, before a final basing decision is made. Bases in Colorado and Georgia, along with an Air Reserve Station in Minnesota, remain reasonable alternative locations.