Temporary Reprieve for Puerto Rico ANG

Senior Air Force officials told lawmakers April 28 that USAF would hold off temporarily on its plan to retire the C-130s of the Puerto Rico Air National Guard in 2011. Last month, Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.), co-chair of the Senate National Guard Caucus, took exception to the retirement plan, saying, it would “eliminate the only flying unit in the Puerto Rican Air Guard, the unit everyone praised for its response to and support of Haiti.” In a combined statement to members of the House Armed Services air and land forces panel, David Van Buren, Lt. Gen. Phillip Breedlove, and Brig. Richard Johnston explained that USAF currently is discussing with the Air Guard, the Puerto Rico ANG’s 156th Airlift Wing, and Office of the Secretary of Defense about delaying the retirements “to allow time to determine a suitable follow-on mission for the unit.”