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Published May 10, 2012, 10:48 AM

US House bill revives Air Guard flying mission in Fargo

FARGO – It appears that progress is being made in the fight to keep a manned aircraft mission at Fargo’s Air National Guard base.

By: Helmut Schmidt, INFORUM

FARGO – It appears that progress is being made in the fight to keep a manned aircraft mission at Fargo’s Air National Guard base.

Rep. Rick Berg, R-N.D., the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Air National Guard Support Group and the metro Chamber of Commerce will hold a news conference Friday to discuss progress in preserving the C-27J cargo aircraft mission for the North Dakota Air National Guard.

The National Defense Authorization Act, which was reported out of the House Armed Services Committee early today, includes a measure that prevents the divestment or retirement of the C-27J program by the Air Force.

The bill could be considered by the full U.S. House early as next week.

Berg’s office said the congressman has been in contact with the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee over the last three weeks to stress the importance of preserving the C-27J program on behalf of the Guard.

The news conference will be at 9:45 a.m. at the Fargo Air Museum, 1609 19th Ave. N.

The Air Guard in Fargo now flies C-21 Learjet aircraft, and there is a wing devoted to flying unmanned aerial vehicles.

The C-21 mission is supposed to be moved out of Fargo sometime next year, Guard officials said.

Not having a manned mission in Fargo could cut 1,000 jobs at the Fargo base and have a direct economic impact of more than $70 million on the metro area, says Dick Walstad, one of the volunteers leading the Guard support group.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583

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