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Local Officials Want To Save the 911th Airlift Wing and 171st Air Refueling Wing

Local officials have penned a letter to President Obama that outlines why the Air Force should keep the 911th Airlift Wing of the Airforce Reserve and the 171st Refueling Wing open.

The government plans to close the two locations in Moon Township as part of nationwide reorganization.

The Pentagon plans on cutting $8.7 billion out of the Air Force budget for next year's fiscal budget. Local officials say plans on closing the local wings are based on false information: they cost very little to maintain and bring a flush of economic benefits to the area.

Among those gathered included Congressman Tim Murphy, U.S. Congressman for the 18th District of Pennsylvania, Congressman Mike Doyle for the 14th District of Pennsylvania, Representative Mark Mustio, who represents Moon Township, and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.

"The Air Force has made some preliminary decisions which we believe are misguided, misinformed and mistaken," said Murphy.

Brian Schill is the public relations representative for the Military Affairs Coalition of Western Pennsylvania. He said the two locations cost very little to maintain but add very much to the community.

"The 911 Airlift Wing is not closed and it's not a done deal. The 911th and the 171st refueling wing will continue to be relevant, reliable and ready throughout this process," said Schill.

Congressman Doyle said he understands the need of the defense budget to pare down their budget but thinks an evaluation of their proposed budget is needed. In their letter to Obama they outline why the Air Force should keep the base open and ask them to provide analaysis for the decision.

The facility has four runways and a maintenance agreement with Allegheny County.

Sally Haas, President of the Pittsburgh Airport Chamber of Commerce said the base has an enormous impact impact for the region, to the tune of $114 for the surrounding community.

The closures are scheduled for September of 2013.