Great Falls considered for new Air Force mission

Great Falls is in the running for a new Air Force mission.

The Air Force is gathering data to determine where to place a required 10th aeromedical evacuation squadron for the Air National Guard and Great Falls is among the locations being considered.

Aeromedical evacuation squadrons provide patient movement during wartime and domestic operations.

The new squadron location must meet two requirements: it must be co-located with an operational Guard unit with C-130 or C-17 squadrons to support domestic operations; and can’t be co-located with an existing aeromedical evacuation squadron, according to Ann Stefanek, an Air Force spokeswoman at the Pentagon.

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Earlier this week, Sen. Jon Tester sent a letter to Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson in support of basing the new squadron at the 120th Airlift Wing on Gore Hill.

“I am confident the location of Great Falls, Montana is key to meeting and exceeding the Air Force’s many mission factors that are weighed and measured during the strategic basing process,” Tester wrote. “With recent authorization and funding for a new aircraft apron at the 120th and our existing infrastructure to bed down a new squadron with their associated personnel and equipment, MANG is the perfect location for this AES unit because it has the potential for the Air Force to execute the decision without significant investments in MILCON funding as with minimal investments in facilities sustainment, restoration and modernization. Additionally, the 120th is geographically an optimal northern-tier location to fill a strategic AES mission need for the northwestern region of the county, and is located in a community with the right mic of capacity and compatibility of qualified medical professionals for such a mission.”

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The criteria will be mission, capacity, environmental, constraints and cost, Stefanek said.

About 100 personnel are required to stand-up the squadron, Stefanek said.

The Air Force is expected to select the preferred and reasonable alternatives in summer 2019.

The other locations being considered are below:
Bradley Air National Guard, Connecticut
Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas
Louisville Air Guard Station, Kentucky
Mansfield Lahm Air Guard Station, Ohio
Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Texas
Peoria Air National Guard Base, Illinois
Quonset State Airport, Rhode Island
Reno Tahoe Air Guard Station, Nevada
Rosecrans Air Guard Station, Missouri
Savannah Hilton Head Air Guard Station, Georgia
Eastern West Virgina Air Guard Station, West Virginia
Memphis Air Guard Station, Tennessee
Stewart Air National Guard Base, New York