The 911th Airlift Wing will keep its eight C-130 tactical aircraft through 2014, maintaining its full flying mission for one year.
Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair, announced today that a planned 2013 closure of the base will not occur. Operations at the base will continue into next year, Murphy said in a statement.
The Air Force renewed the base's mission today. The 911th has faced previous closure attempts, including one in 2005.
“The past 12 months aside, countless members of our community have been fighting since 2004 to block misguided and misinformed attempts to close the 911th," Murphy said in a statement.
The 911th's mission after 2014 remains unclear. Murphy said efforts to stave off a closure have not ended.
“Despite this victory, our efforts to showcase the 911th will not stop," Murphy said.
The Air Force had again initiated efforts to close the base after March, following the expiration of a law put in place to delay the closure. Air Force officials said shuttering the 911th would save the military $350 million.
Under a closure, the base would loose its eight C-130 aircraft and eliminate each of its 1,300 military and 280 civilian personnel positions.
Local lawmakers, reservists and Pentagon officials had wrangled over the base's future for more than a year—area reservists and Moon officials staged a rally in protest of the closure in May 2012.
The Air Force forged ahead with plans to eliminate the 911th despite the construction of a $10 million Navy Reserve Center and nearby regional military commissary.
To counter the closure efforts, Pennsylvania lawmakers touted the cost-savings relationship associated with the 911th and Pittsburgh International Airport. The airport, maintained by the Allegheny County Airport Authority, offers its runways and other services to the air wing at an annual cost of $20,000.
"My sincere appreciation to everyone who has been involved in this process, including Gov. Corbett, my colleagues in the Pennsylvania delegation, and the local members of the military support community,” the congressman said in the statement.
Despite the base's renewed mission, 280 civilian personnel are expected to be furloughed in April as a result of the federal government's budget sequestration.
The 911th public affairs office could not comment this morning on Murphy's announcement or planned furloughs.
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