Air Guard Firefighters Leaving Springfield

Sixteen firefighters with the Illinois Air National Guard’s 183rd Fighter Wing in Springfield will be out of a job next September as part of the BRAC 2005 decision that stripped the unit of its F-16 flying mission. While the wing’s F-16s left Springfield in 2008 after a 19-year run, the firefighters remained under an agreement between the wing and the Springfield Airport Authority. However, that agreement, under which the wing provided crash and rescue support to the airport, is set to expire in September 2011, reports the Springfield State Journal-Register. The firefighters will be on a recall list for two years, giving them priority if the 183rd is assigned a new flying mission and new spots open up, according to the newspaper. If that happens, the agreement would once again start up. The wing currently repairs F-16 engines.