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Politics & Government

PA Governor to Air Force: Closing 911th Airlift Wing is a Mistake

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Governor Tom Corbett has joined the effort to keep the Air Force Reserve's 911th Airlift wing open. The facility located on Pittsburgh International Airport grounds is due to shut down with the start of the 2013 fiscal year.

Corbett said one reason to keep the wing open is because the region already has a great partnership with the military.

"This is a military facility, not just an air facility but a military facility," Corbett said. "Now we're looking to grow that presence here in Western Pennsylvania."

Corbett said the natural gas resources on airport grounds is another incentive for the military base to remain operable. Corbett called the Air Force's decision to close the wing a mistake, and explained the message to the Pentagon.

"To try and impress upon the Air Force the value of looking at the facility not just in how many people are authorized to be on base, but how much to they get done and how much do they provide to the security of this country and the security of western Pennsylvania," Corbett said.

U.S. Congressman Tim Murphy (R-PA) said estimates made by the Air Force about the wing's cost-efficiency are skewed. He said the Air Force made their decision based on a false count of how many civilian employees the wing had. Additionally, Murphy said the military evaluated the wing's airplane value based on unequal comparisons to other bases. 

"If it's fact-based, we win," Murphy said.

Officials couldn't comment on the likelihood of keeping the wing open, or how much the outcry will impact the Air Force's decision.