Event Marks the End of an Era and a New Beginning
PITTSBURGH, PA – Historically, the Reservists assigned to the 911th Airlift Wing at Pittsburgh International Airport Air Reserve Station, Pennsylvania, are accustomed to change. Since the US government first developed the more than 100-acre farm property in 1942 as an Air Defense Unit in support of World War II, the base, its mission, aircraft, and command have continually changed, including the potential closure of the base in 1995. The most recent transition at the 911th is par for the course as change goes—the eight-aircraft compliment of C-130H “Hercules” currently assigned to the 911th are being replaced with the larger C-17 “Globemaster.” The last flight of the C-130H aircraft assigned to the 911th in April 2018 signified the passing of the mission-torch from C-130H to C-17.
At a gathering of select 911th supporters on April 30, 2018, the C-130H was featured on the tarmac in a show of respect for the flight crews, load masters, and maintenance crews that have proudly flown the workhorse aircraft since the C-130A version arrived at the 911th in 1980. The C-130A was subsequently replaced by the C-130H in 1987.
Among those in attendance were members of the Pittsburgh Airport Area Chamber of Commerce Military Relations Committee (PAACC MRC). The MRC supports the military mission in the airport area, works with military personnel on partnerships, and participates in the Honorary Commanders Program.
“The PAACC MRC is proud to have played a role in promoting the 911th as a major contributor to our regional economic development while operating as one of the most cost-effective installations,” said PAACC MRC Co-Chair H. Rochelle Stachel. “Those efforts, along with Pittsburgh International Airport, Moon Township, and other community partnerships, vastly contributed to the new C-17 strategic mission at the base.”
The longevity of the C-130H as a key aircraft in the US Air Force speaks to its utility and durability; however, with its increased cargo capacity and longer-range flying capability, the C-17 is one of the most flexible cargo airlifters available to the US Air Force, which enhances its strategic mission value.
The 911th Airlift Wing is currently undergoing a $125-million base-wide conversion program intended to construct and convert infrastructure and facilities, which can accommodate the C-17 aircraft. The conversion program, projected for completion by year-end 2019, includes expanded aircraft apron parking, a new hydrant fueling system, and a new hangar. Estimated regional economic impact of the program approaches $205 million, while adding as many as 200 new jobs at the base.
Sources: HRV Conformance Verification Associates, Inc.; Pittsburgh Airport Area Chamber of Commerce Military Relations Committee; 911th Airlift Wing at Pittsburgh International Airport Air Reserve Station