With another move to close the 911th Airlift Wing possibly coming in March, Gov. Tom Corbett made a public pitch Friday to save the Moon facility, saying it saves the Air Force money, is well-positioned to aid national security and is an economic engine for the Pittsburgh region.
Mr. Corbett, a 14-year Army National Guard veteran, joined federal and local elected officials in pleading publicly with the Department of Defense to save the base near Pittsburgh International Airport.
The 911th employs some 1,900 reservists and others, but the Air Force is looking to close it as part of plans to trim more than $350 million in costs.
Local officials are trying "to impress upon the Air Force the value of looking at this facility not just in how many people are authorized to be on base but how much do they get done, and how much do they provide to the security of this country and the security of Western Pennsylvania, what missions do they have, what missions do they complete, that you can't measure in dollars and cents, but you can measure in impacts on families being rescued," Mr. Corbett said.
Additionally there is "the potential we have here in Western Pennsylvania, geographically located to be able to cover 70 percent of the United States in basically a two-hour flight. It's better than just about anywhere else in the country."
Pennsylvania's U.S. senators, Democrat Bob Casey and Republican Pat Toomey, issued a joint letter Wednesday urging the Pentagon to keep the C-130s at the 911th and put off any cuts until a cost-effectiveness study can be performed.
The governor was joined by U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and several state legislators from districts near the airport.