SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA)– U.S. lawmakers representing Illinois in Washington D.C. are working to get a flight mission back to Springfield.
Senators Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin along with Congressman Rodney Davis, Congressman Darin LaHood, Congressman Mike Bost and Congresswoman Cheri Bustos are pushing for an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act.
Senators say the amendment would return the 183d wing unit of the Air National Guard to flying status, helping the Air Force meet its goal of having a force of 386 squadrons rather than 312.
Illinois Adjutant General Richard Neely and Senator Dick Durbin are optimistic they can return the wing to flying status.
“We see an opportunity here, when the Air Force needs additional flying units, for Springfield to be really a quick, efficient solution in bringing fighters back to Springfield,” Neely said.
“We’ve got a path, we’ve got a way to do it. We have to convince a few people in Washington. Senator Duckworth and I are in a position where we think we might be able to make that happen,” said Durbin.
Neely says the wing has a rich history of flying mission. The last mission was back in 2008 after the Base Realignment and Closure decision in 2005. The wing currently functions as a repair facility for F-16 engines and Air Operations Group.