Panetta: We're committed to Niagara guard base
Posted at: 08/09/2012 4:10 AM
| Updated at: 08/09/2012 1:33 PM
By: Associated Press and News10NBC | WHEC.com
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says the Pentagon is committed to protecting a western New York air base that had been the target of potential cutbacks.
Panetta made the comments on a visit to the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station is scheduled for Thursday.
The largest employer in Niagara County, the base is home to the 914th Airlift Wing of the Air Force Reserve and the 107th Airlift Wing of the Air National Guard. It was threatened with shutdown in 2005 by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission, but ultimately was spared.
The government has made several investments in the base since then, including construction of a processing center for new recruits and a new firing range, but its long-term future is uncertain.
Representative Kathy Hochul said, I was delighted to hear the Secretary's commitment to maintaining the base. Secretary Panetta's visit to the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station gave him the opportunity to see the base and its value firsthand and to understand the vital role the base plays in protecting our regional and national security. I look forward to continuing to work with the Secretary and my colleagues, as well as the leadership of the base, to preserve the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station."
Chris Collins, former Erie County County Executive and candidate for the 27th Congressional District, said, "I am thrilled that Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta today visited the Niagara Falls Air Force Base. I applaud Congresswoman Hochul, and Senators Charles Schumer and Kirstin Gillibrand for extending the invitation and arranging the visit. I know that after his visit, Sec. Panetta will understand the critical importance of the base and the incredible job the men and women there do on behalf of our nation.