NC Leaders Not Giving Up In Effort To Save Fort Bragg Airlift Unit

Feb 9, 2016

North Carolina’s Congressional delegation is vowing to continue its two-year fight to save Fort Bragg's 440th Airlift Wing.

The Pentagon took a big step last week toward shutting down the unit that flies paratrooper training jumps. It certified that eliminating the unit won’t affect Army training.  Military leaders plan to rely on C-130 aircraft from other bases to travel to Fort Bragg when they're needed for training.

Republican Congresswoman Renee Ellmers of the state's Second Congressional District went to the base Monday to talk with commanders. Afterward, she said the unit is crucial, and she’ll try to delay its closure.

"For me, this is a very logical, common-sense issue," Ellmers said, "and I see something that works and I think we need to continue with it rather than jeopardize it."

She called for the military to delay the shutdown for up to two years of scrutiny.

Last week, the Air Force submitted a letter to Congress that set in motion a 90-day timeline to begin the closure of the 440th. The unit is expected to be permanently inactivated in September.

The letter said the elimination of the airlift wing would have "no adverse effect" on the military readiness of Ft. Bragg's units, which include the 82nd Airborne Division and XVIII Airborne Corps.

The 440th has 700 airmen, most of them reservists who serve on weekends.