Air Force Reserve C-130s at the Air Force Reserve hangar at Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport in 2005.

Glen Stubbe, Star Tribune

Air Reserve wing to be transferred from Minnesota

  • Article by: MARK BRUNSWICK
  • Star Tribune
  • February 4, 2012 - 6:26 PM

The Flying Vikings may be flying somewhere else.

All eight of the Air Force Reserve's cargo planes are scheduled to be transferred away from the Minneapolis-St. Paul Air Force Reserve, and the airlift wing's mission will change as part of a Pentagon plan to draw down forces and cut costs.

In addition, the military installation on the northern portion of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport will be turned over to the Minnesota Air National Guard, all part of a consolidation of Air Force resources to cut at least $54 billion from its budget. While the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard have facilities adjoining each other at the airport, the Reserve was considered the host of the installation.

On Friday, it was announced that a fighter wing of the Minnesota Air National Guard would remain in Duluth, allaying fears that the base would be closed as part of an overall Pentagon base closure plan.

The departure of the C-130 cargo planes means one squadron of the wing, which is known as the Flying Vikings, will be "drawn down," or cut, and the role of the remaining personnel will be an as-yet-unspecified non-flying mission, Capt. Sabra Brown, a spokeswoman for the 934th Airlift Wing, said Saturday. The changes are scheduled to take place by the end of 2013, according to the Pentagon.

Both the Air Reserve and Air National Guard are reserve units, traditionally including personnel who have civilian jobs, as opposed to the active-duty military, in which service members serve full time.

The Pentagon announced on Friday that the Air Force plans to retire 82 Air Force Reserve Command aircraft and make other changes in the command in the next few years.

To comply with its part of a planned $487 million in budget cuts, the Air Force Reserve's portion of the cuts is expected to include reducing its inventory by 61 aircraft and aerial-refueling aircraft, as well as 21 fighter jets.

The Air Force is scheduled to announce manpower changes caused by these structure changes in the next few weeks. The planned reductions must be approved by Congress and signed into law by the president.

Mark Brunswick • 612-673-4434

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