Defense bill would benefit air station at Vienna

Language that would benefit the Youngstown Air Reserve Station in Vienna by prioritizing upgrades to the station’s C-130 Hercules aircraft is contained in a defense policy bill finalized Wednesday by U.S. House and Senate negotiators.

The amendment contained in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act directs the U.S. Air Force to report on how it will prioritize upgrades to the new C-130 J Super Hercules for special mission units, like the 910th Airlift Wing, that are capable of aerial spray, airborne firefighting and weather reconnaissance.

It’s a move U.S. Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, have been pushing for to make sure the 910th’s aerial spray mission “continues safely without interruption,” according to a joint news release from their offices.

“This is a victory for Youngstown and our strengthening our national defense capabilities. Prioritizing upgrades for new C-130 aircraft will help maintain and strengthen our special mission units like the 910th at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station, which has become a model for other Air Reserve Stations throughout the country,” Portman stated.

Stated Brown, “the Air Force should prioritize these special mission wings when allocating aircraft. This language will benefit not just the Mahoning Valley, but all communities that benefit from the special mission at YARS.”

The House is expected to consider the legislation on Friday and the Senate, early next week.

Eight C-130 fly out of the 910th in Vienna. The 910th is the U.S. Department of Defense’s only large area fixed-wing aerial spray unit. It’s used to control insects, undesirable vegetation and to disperse oil spills in large bodies of water, according to the YARS website.