Air Guard Cuts

Representatives in the Iowa House have drafted a resolution in opposition to the proposed spending cuts to the Air National Guard. Representative Jeremy Taylor has requested a resolution urging United States Congress and the President to protect Iowa’s Air National Guard.

The budget cut requests the removal of twenty-one F-16 fighter jets of the 132nd Fighter Wing. This Fighter Wing has participated in numerous actions including World War II, the Korean Conflict, and many of the support functions of Desert Storm/Desert Shield, and Iraqi Freedom. They have received numerous awards, including eight Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards, and have participated in exercises and deployments worldwide. The Iowa National Air Guard has been a part of the nation’s defense and Iowa’s emergency defense system since 1941.

Gov. Terry Branstad and 48 other governors are also protesting proposed spending cuts to the Air National Guard.

On Tuesday, Branstad released a letter at his weekly press conference to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta opposing plans by the Air Force to reduce Air National Guard spending. A second letter was distributed protesting the proposed cuts signed by Maj. Gen. Tim Orr, adjutant general of the Iowa National Guard, and adjutant generals from all other states.

For Iowa, reductions would mean the elimination of all F-16 fighter aircraft at the Guard’s 132nd Fighter Wing, resulting in loss of 500 of the unit’s 1,000 personnel. The unit would be assigned to control drone aircraft under the Air Force’s budget proposal, but no unmanned aircraft would physically be based in Iowa.