May 13, 2005

Base Realignment and Closure process impacts Virginia Air Guard unit

By Lt. Col. Chester Carter, III
State Public Affairs Officer

BLACKSTONE, Va. -- One unit in the Virginia National Guard will be impacted by the Base Realignment and Closure Process, or BRAC, according to an announcement on May 13, 2005 by Maj. Gen. Claude A. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia. The U. S. Air Force has recommended the F-16 aircraft currently assigned to the Virginia Air Guard's 192nd Fighter Wing stationed in Sandston, Va. be allocated to other units of the Air National Guard, U. S. Air Force Reserve, and U. S. Air Force back-up inventory.  

A time frame for this reallocation of aircraft was not provided, but according to the Air Force BRAC 2005 Strategy and Results the Air Force intends to "Create an F-16 Force that in 2011 will have 100% of its squadrons effectively sized at 18 or 24 air craft ..." Additionally the Air Force recommended the Airmen of the 192nd Fighter Wing be associated with the 1st Fighter Wing, U. S. Air Force, stationed at Langley Air Force Base, Va.  This recommendation is consistent with an initiative begun earlier to associate the 192nd Fighter Wing with the 1st Fighter Wing at Langley Air Force Base.

Williams went on to say the Air Force recommendation stated the Virginia Air Guard property at the Richmond International Airport "will transfer to the Department of the Army." Williams said that although elements of the 192nd Fighter Wing would move to Langley Air Force Base over the next several years he envisioned a Virginia Air Guard presence remaining at Sandston.  

"The reason for the association of the192nd Fighter Wing with the 1st Fighter Wing is to assure Virginia Airmen continue the flying tradition they have maintained since the Virginia Air National Guard established a presence at the Sandston location in 1947.  The long and excellent relationship the Air Guard has had with Sandston is the reason for wanting to retain a presence in that community now," Williams said. He also said this change provides the Virginia Air Guard the potential to consolidation some missions while seeking new missions for the Air Guard at Sandston.

Williams said there were no other BRAC recommendations that impacted on the Virginia Army or Air National Guard, and he stated it is his intent to work with the citizens of Sandston to minimize the impact of this change on the community.  Williams said he envisions town hall meetings and other forums to assure the community remains aware of events taking place at the Virginia Air Guard Base in Sandston.


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