By MATT PIKE
St. Joseph Post
Along with a move to the north side of Rosecrans Memorial Airport, members of the 139th Airlift Wing are also awaiting word on if they'll be receiving new jets.
The 139th has applied to upgrade the current C-130 H Model aircraft to the larger C-130 J models.
Commander of the 139th Colonel John Cluck says currently it's wait and see as they proceed through the selection process.
"It's over now to, at some point, the director of the Air National Guard for the country will make a decision, I think St. Joe is the perfect candidate, I think we're in a very solid position where we're going to go there," Cluck tells KFEQ/St. Joseph Post. "We're just working this through, if not selected we'll continue until we are selected, we're not going to lose we're going to keep going until we get what we need."
That effort has received support at the state level. Missouri US Senator Josh Hawley led the Missouri Congressional Delegation in sending a letter to the director of the Air National Guard, in support of the base receiving eight C-130 J models.
Cluck says what that means to him is that the state of Missouri is not going to rest until new jets are at the base.
"We have been a leader in, not only just the functional mission, but we're also the training platform for all tactical flying for all the mobility air force platforms," Cluck explains. "So, he knows that the J model will continue to secure the 139th in St. Joe for generations to come, and we really appreciate the Senator's support."
Cluck says the newer planes will allow the base to take on some larger mission sets
"Other things we can do with them extends our ability to continue to do the work of not only the state of Missouri, but basically the US Air Force," Cluck says.
As for the move to the north side of the airport, Cluck says currently six buildings have been completed and the design of a ramp to park aircraft on is underway.
Cluck adds that it clearly takes time to make this kind of move, and you don't move up in a week, but says with the request for the upgraded planes these changes are necessary.