Vice President Biden in Pittsburgh for St. Patrick’s Day Parade- Senator Requested Personal Meeting to Discuss Future of 911th
Pittsburgh PA- Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) announced that he personally met with Vice President Joe Biden at the 911th base to press the case for the Pittsburgh Air Reserve Station, which the Pentagon has targeted for closure.
The meeting with Vice President Biden on the 911th comes on the heels of a phone conversation that the two had on the 911th earlier this month. On Wednesday, Senator Casey spoke directly with President Obama on the issue, stressing the importance of the 911th to the nation’s Commander In Chief.
Vice President Biden was in Pittsburgh for the St. Patrick’s Day parade and landed at the 911th base. Casey requested a personal meeting with the Vice President to follow up to their earlier phone conversation on the 911th.
Casey and Vice President Biden had a positive conversation during which Senator Casey made 3 major points about the 911th :
- Leasing the 911th is a low-cost operation: The Pentagon pays only $20,000 to lease 0ver 100,000 acres on the 911th Air Force base, which is a small sum when compared to the amount paid to lease other bases.
- Closing the 911th could actually cost the Defense Department more money in the future: Recreating the 911th’s capabilities could end up costing the Defense Department about $400 million.
- Losing the 911th base would deprive the military of an incredibly skilled workforce: The 911th Airlift Wing has developed an aircraft maintenance program that has resulted in more aircraft availability days while saving the Pentagon more than $42 million over the last five years.
He urged the Vice President to stay personally involved in the decision over the base’s future. Specifically, Casey cited the fact that the Pentagon has made a fiscal year 2013 budget request for an ‘association with a C-130 unit’ at an undetermined location. Casey urged Vice President Biden to consider the 911th for such an association. Senator Casey also said that the members of the 911th base should be eligible for a new mission instead of closure.
“I appreciate the Vice President taking time out to discuss the future of the 911th with me,” Casey said. “Vice President Biden knows Pennsylvania well and I’m confident that after landing at the 911th and getting a chance to see the base first hand, he’ll come away with an increased appreciation for its importance to the region and country. I look forward to working with him in the future on keeping the 911th open. As I’ve said before, closing the 911th would be devastating to Southwestern Pennsylvania and harmful to our national security, and I’m going to pursue every avenue to keep it open.”