Rhode Island Wants Active Duty Airmen

Rhode Island officials reportedly have started a campaign that they hope will convince the Air Force to assign an active associate element of some 400 airmen to work with the Air National Guard’s 143rd Airlift Wing at Quonset State Airport. According to a report last week by the Providence Journal, the effort by Gov. Donald Carcieri and state Air Guard officials not only are lobbying for up to 400 active duty airmen but also another four C-130J transports. The 143rd AW lost four of its 12 C-130s under BRAC 2005. Carcieri told the newspaper, “We have just started to promote this; this is highly competitive.” But a Guard spokesman, Lt. Col. Denis Riel, told the Journal, that Rhode Island is “on the short list” for those facilities where USAF wants to establish associate units.