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C-130 News: Air Force Reserve challenges allegations that 440th is being inactivated by attrition


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The Air Force Reserve has responded to allegations that the 440th Airlift Wing was being inactivated through attrition.

The allegations arose earlier this month, after members of the unit said they felt they were being hidden ahead of Operation Toy Drop, a large airborne operation that's part multinational training exercise, part toy drive.

Airmen and civilian officials close to them alleged the Air Force was discouraging members of the unit from speaking out against the 440th's pending inactivation and going behind Congress' back in making the unit unable to complete its mission to support Fort Bragg soldiers.

The allegations led to at least two letters from elected leaders to Air Force commanders.

In response, Air Force Reserve Command at Robins Air Force Base in Georgia said $52 million has been set aside to ensure the 440th Airlift Wing and its airmen are viable to the end of the fiscal year, when the unit is set to be inactivated.

Officials also challenged allegations that airmen were being left behind, with many expected to go on the inactive Reserve, thus losing several benefits, without the unit.

"The Air Force Reserve goes to great lengths to assist Reservists in their career decisions," officials said, citing a clearinghouse meant to find new jobs for 440th airmen. "Every effort is being made to assist our personnel in continuing their careers."

The three-star command said the Air Force, including active, Reserve and Guard units, would be able to support Fort Bragg without the hometown unit, which has the only C-130s at the "Home of the Airborne."

Officials did not provide a cost estimate for what it would take for outside units to fill in for the 440th Airlift Wing, instead saying that missions are "not based solely on cost."

Outside units "need to fly those missions to maintain proficiency," officials said.

But money does still have a role behind the inactivation.

"Sequestration budgets required the Air Force to reduce spending by $20 billion, thus driving the decision to close the 440th Wing," officials said.

Officials also confirmed that Lt. Gen. James "JJ" Jackson, the Chief of the Air Force Reserve, had to delay plans to visit Fort Bragg to speak with local leaders.

Instead, the deputy chief of the Air Force Reserve will be on post this week, they said.

Jackson "plans to make another trip as soon as his schedule permits," officials added.

View original article at fayobserver.com

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