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Keesler preps for changes with C-130j move

Mar. 21, 2013 - 12:08PM   |  
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BILOXI, Miss. — The Air Force is transferring 10 C-130j aircraft from Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi to Pope Field near Fayetteville, N.C.

The planes are part of the 403rd Reserve Wing and are used primarily for tactical airlift missions locally and overseas.

Keesler officials said in a news release that the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, also known as the Hurricane Hunters, will remain at Keesler and will not lose any aircraft or personnel.

The plan also says the 815th Airlift Squadron at Keesler will close.

“The loss of personnel and aircraft will be felt at Keesler and in our community,” said Col. Craig LaFave, commander of the 403rd Reserve Wing. “As the Air Force begins executing this transfer, we will to strive to take care of our personnel and their families during this difficult time.”

The Air Force Reserve Command plan calls for relocating the planes in fiscal year 2014, which starts in October. The transfer is part of an overall plan to trim $480 billion in defense spending.

Air Force officials did not immediately have the number of airmen who will be affected by the move.

Keesler officials said they are awaiting more word for the Reserve Command about how the movements will work. Some may be allowed to join other squadrons, some may relocate, or find other positions.

Keesler officials said personnel decisions about the 345th Airlift Squadron, which is assigned to the 403rd Wing, have not been confirmed.

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