118th Airlift Wing Will Become Training Unit - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

118th Airlift Wing Will Become Training Unit

Gov. Phil Bredesen Gov. Phil Bredesen
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley
Rep. Jim Cooper Rep. Jim Cooper

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Gov. Phil Bredesen and Tennessee Adjutant General Major Gen. Gus L. Hargett announced that the Tennessee Air National Guard's 118th Airlift Wing will become a training unit.

The unit's C-130 transport aircraft will be transferred to other bases. The training center will receive other planes and will maintain the base to train as many as 150 international military students annually. The first class of students is tentatively scheduled to begin in the middle of next year. The classes could spans several weeks and several months.

"This is a great day for Tennessee. It's a great day for Nashville," said Bredesen, standing at Berry Field in Nashville. "It's an especially great day for the 118th."

The 118th Airlift Wing has served missions around the world and in the United States.

"These total force airmen from right here in Nashville will share their rich talents, vast experience in training allied airmen from strategic partner nations how to successfully fly and employ the C-130," said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley.

The 118th Airlift Wing is known for carrying troops, cargo and equipment. Now the unit will teach international military students what it's like to operate a C-130 cargo plane.

"We are here to restore the airplanes that were taken away from us in the BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure) process," said Rep. Jim Cooper. "Many of us think that was an injustice that is now finally being corrected."

The new mission is welcome news considering two years ago a military commission voted to move the 118th Airlift Wing out of Tennessee. However, the unit's C-130 cargo planes will still go to other bases.

The new training center will receive WC-130 aircraft. They are similar planes with special training modifications.

Bredesen said the unit's new mission is a win for the state, Guardsmen and other Tennesseans.

"When you're governor, the kinds of things that keep you up at night are the possibilities of natural disasters, man-made disasters," Bredesen said. "Knowing that you have the tools that it takes and through the National Guard, to respond to those is an important asset."

The 118th's new mission also means the community retains hundreds of jobs.

The new mission will utilize the professional pilots and air crews already assigned to the 118th Airlift Wing.

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