139th Airlift Wing targets new aircraft model

September 9 – The 139th Airlift Wing commander takes a comprehensive approach to future military unit success at Rosecrans Memorial Airport.

Much of the future success, according to Colonel John Cluck, is a significant upgrade of the C-130J transport aircraft model. Cluck, speaking at a public affairs coffee Friday, discussed the significance of the new aircraft as well as several other details about the current state of the 139th Airlift Wing.

“Really, the biggest thing about today’s message is that we’re the right base in the right city at the right time,” Cluck said at the Chamber of Commerce-sponsored event. of St. Joseph. “We need the help of everyone in the St. Joseph community to help us continue to stand up for the things we think are important.”

Cluck stressed the importance of advocating for new aircraft designs at the 139 Wing, particularly the need for C-130J models.

“We want to continue advocating for future aircraft for our wing,” Cluck said. “The ability to eventually obtain C-130J models is critical to our continued success for years to come. Our aircraft are over 30 years old now and getting a bit older and we know we want to keep doing the job, but we need proper equipment.”

Buchanan County Presiding Commissioner Lee Sawyer agreed that the 139th Airlift Wing would be a good fit for the C-130J models.

“We think we’re a great candidate and one of the reasons is the technical school we have here in St. Joseph,” Sawyer said. “We train squads from all over the world.”

Sawyer said upgrades to the 139th had been underway for several years with representatives to receive a new simulator that would aid in the success of the C-130J models.

“We have a new simulator and the facility is under construction,” Sawyer said. “With the tactical school and the new simulator, we are really perfectly suited to get the Model J here at 139th.”

Sawyer said representatives from the 139th have traveled to Washington, D.C., several times to discuss the model’s acquisition.

Kristi Bailey, director of communications and marketing at the Chamber of Commerce, said the 139th Wing had a huge impact on the St. Joseph community.

“It’s the members who live here, work here, the commerce they bring with all the people they train here,” she said.

Bailey said the C-130J model will help support the 139 Wing to continue to grow at St. Joseph. The government has not made a final decision on the allocation of the aircraft.

The economic impact of the 139th Airlift Wing was another important item of discussion at the meeting. Cluck said the wing is the fourth-largest employer in the city of St. Joseph.

“Our workforce brings in about $70 million in civilian compensation budget,” Cluck said. “We feel like we’re really here to help St. Joseph.”

The next Public Affairs Café is a Candidates Forum scheduled for 7:30 a.m. on Thursday, October 20 at the Stoney Creek Conference Center.

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