Press Releases and Statements
Sensenbrenner to National Guard: Keep Aircraft in Wisconsin
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner signed on to the following letter to National Guard Bureau Chief General Joseph L. Lengyel and Air National Guard Director Lieutenant General Leon Scott Rice, urging them to maintain RC-26B aircraft at Truax Field Air National Guard Base located in Madison, Wisconsin:
Dear General Lengyel and Lieutenant General Rice:
We write again to express our strong support for the current posture and location of the RC-26B in each of our communities. As you know, the RC-26B has proven itself a remarkable asset for the Air National Guard (ANG). This versatile aircraft has been utilized to assist law enforcements’ response to natural disasters, counterdrug missions, and special operations missions abroad.
Given the RC-26B’s role as the ANG’s only manned, domestic Incident Awareness and Assessment aircraft, we believe it is vital to maintain its current posture in order to ensure its efficacy domestically. The ability of this aircraft to support a variety of missions throughout the country is in large part a result of its current basing strategy. Keeping the RC-26B located in Alabama, Arizona, California, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin ensures the West Coast, South, Midwest, and East Coast will have this asset available to respond quickly to natural disasters, hurricanes, wildfires, missing persons, and terrorist attacks. Currently, the aircraft is engaged in counter-cartel operations on the southern border, a mission likely to be in play long into the future.
For example, the RC-26B provided critical support in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. Several ANG units from the region flew 10-12 hour missions daily on a total of six aircraft. The unique capabilities of the RC-26B mission system were instrumental in the success of search and rescue. Moreover, after the September 11th attacks, the aircraft’s mission expanded to provide support for a wide array of missions – including presidential support and humanitarian missions.
While we understand there are discussions underway to consolidate the RC-26B away from the current basing strategy, we believe any consolidation that does not consider our ability to respond quickly to natural disasters and other domestic missions would be detrimental to its efficacy as a first responder to disaster-related events. In light of this, we urge the Air National Guard Bureau to keep the current RC-26B basing strategy.
Thank you for your continued leadership of the National Guard and Air National Guard, and for your consideration of this matter.