Tue. 11:18 p.m.: Regional Chamber launches commission to defend Vienna air reserve station

COMING WEDNESDAY: The Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber is marching on with its defense of the Youngstown Air Reserve Station in anticipation of another round of a Base Realignment and Closure effort, commonly known as BRAC.

This week, the Regional Chamber officially launched the Eastern Ohio Military Affairs Commission and appointed attorney Vito Abruzzino to spearhead it. The move is one of several local steps to maintain the air station in Vienna, the home of the 910th Airlift Wing.

Abruzzino, formerly with the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps at Fort Jackson, S.C., and Fort Bragg, N.C., is an attorney with local firm Harrington, Hoppe & Mitchell Ltd.

The chamber stated in a new release that the goal is “to enhance the military value and national defense excellence” at the air station and “other installations throughout eastern Ohio.”

“Our local military installations, especially the air base in Vienna, play significant roles in our local economy and in national defense,” said Tom Humphries, Regional Chamber president and CEO. “It’s important that we educate the Pentagon and the local community on the vital operations that take place throughout eastern Ohio.”

The local air station is the fourth-largest employer in Trumbull and Mahoning counties and pumps approximately $180 million each year into the local economy. Two years ago, the station generated more than $200 million. The reduction has been attributed to the transfer of four planes and the personnel who service them to other assignments.

Regional Chamber leaders said the new commission will address the Pentagon’s redeployment decisions and prepare for another federal BRAC, whereby Congress works with the Pentagon to make the U.S. military more efficient. The BRAC commission could reconvene in 2017.

Read the full story and see photos in the Wednesday Tribune Chronicle.