General Opposes Air Force Recommendation To Shut Down 259 Air Traffic Control Squadron

MAJOR GENERAL (RET) BENNETT C. LANDRENEAU OPPOSES AIR FORCE RECOMMENDATION TO SHUT DOWN 259 AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL SQUADRON

Former Adjutant General of Louisiana Sends Letter to Congressional Delegation outlining opposition to Air Force Recommendation

England Airpark: April 19, 2012

Major General (Ret) Bennett C. Landreneau, former Adjutant General of Louisiana, released a letter today opposing the Air Force recommendation to disband the 259th Air Traffic Control Squadron.  MG (Ret) Landreneau’s fourteen years of service as Adjutant General of Louisiana gave him firsthand knowledge of the importance of the 259th to disaster response and war fighting priorities. In a letter, sample letter attached, to the Congressional Delegation, April 9, 2012, MG (Ret) Landreneau stated:

“It is with great concern that I write to you regarding the pending fate of the Louisiana Air National Guard’s 259th Air Traffic Control Squadron….These announcements were made without input from the Louisiana National Guard or a thorough analysis or evaluation of the impacts of closing this unit.”

“Therefore, after careful consideration, the loss of the unit would be detrimental to the Louisiana National Guard’s overall readiness and response capability, making it essential to protect it from any further discussions of reduction.”

Letters: Senator Mary Landrieu | Senator David Vitter | Congressman Rodney Alexander

As to MG (Ret) Landreneau letter:

William Barron, Chairman, England Authority:  “MG Landreneau was instrumental in developing the Louisiana National Guard into one of the premier State Guard organizations in our country.  Presidents through the years have called on the Louisiana National Guard to protect our state and nation while aiding our friends in the Caribbean, Central America and around the world.  MG Landreneau’s opposition to this move should give pause to serious thinkers wanting to make the right decision for our country.”

History:

In March, the United States Air Force announced the proposed disbanding of the 259th Air Traffic Control Squadron.  The announcement by the United States Air Force came without consultation or discussion with Senators Landrieu, Vitter or Congressman Alexander.  Further, the announcement came without the input of the Louisiana National Guard.

The 259th Air Traffic Control Unit is based at England Airpark.  The unit controls the movement of all aircraft in the airspace surrounding Alexandria International Airport (AEX).  The unit mans the air traffic control tower 24/7 at AEX while also providing radar, navigation aide and communication support.  The unit handles fixed wing aircraft from Cessna’s to C5/747; also full range of civilian and military helicopter activity.  The unit is a member of the Louisiana National Guard.  There are 110 persons in this unit.  The unit has a direct impact of over $3 million annually to the local economy.  The unit has deployed overseas on a number of occasions along with performing disaster relief duty in the United States. To date, the Squadron has safely deployed over 500,000 personnel, 170,000 tons of military cargo as well as supported numerous flag officers, foreign political and military visits in direct support of Ft. Polk.

A 259th web page has been established on the England Airpark website, www.englandairpark.org.  Citizens are encouraged to visit the page and sign the electronic petition supporting the 259th Air Traffic Control Squadron.  Over one thousand signatures have been collected to date.

Further information will be forthcoming regarding Central Louisiana’s efforts to save the 259th Air Traffic Control Squadron.  We ask the Central Louisiana media to widely distribute this information so that our citizens have a chance to support this effort.

The England Authority is a political subdivision of the State of Louisiana which owns and manages England Airpark, the former England Air Force Base.  England Airpark includes Alexandria International Airport and multiple conversion projects, for which it has been nationally recognized as the premier model for reuse and development of closed military bases.  Please see www.englandairpark.org 

For more information contact:

Jon Grafton, Executive Director
England Airpark
318-792-6063

LTC Micheal Kazmierzak
Louisiana National Guard
504-278-8286

Senator Mary Landrieu
202-224-5824

Senator David Vitter
202-224-4623

Jamie Hanks
Congressman Rodney Alexander
202-225-8490