Senators Introduce Resolution Supporting the 259th ATC Squadron

SENATORS GALLOT , LONG, KOSTELKA , RISER, ADLEY, LAFLEUR, SMITH, WALSWORTH AND REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS, ARMES, BROWN, COX, HAZEL INTRODUCE RESOLUTION SUPPORTING 259th AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL SQUADRON

SCR-55 Asks Congress to Reverse the Disbanding of the Squadron

England Airpark:  April 11, 2012

To combat the proposed disbanding of the Louisiana National Guard 259th Air Traffic Control Squadron, located at England Airpark, Louisiana Senators Gallot, Long, Kostelka, Riser, Adley, Lafleur, Smith, Walsworth and Representative Harris, Armes, Brown, Cox, Hazel introduce resolution of support in the current legislative session.  Moving quickly to show support for the 259th, the delegation promptly introduced legislation to request the Congressional Delegation to take action to reverse the proposed disbanding of the 259th ATC.  Further, the legislation supports action by the Governor and the Adjutant General in their efforts to reverse the decision.

SCR-55 is attached.
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An adopted resolution by the State Legislature is an important tool in outlining the commitment and position of the State of Louisiana regarding the importance of this unit to the State of Louisiana.  This tool will be used by the Congressional delegation in its efforts to reverse the proposed Air Force decision.

As to resolution of support:

Senator Rick Gallot:  “I was distressed to hear of the proposed action by the Air Force.  Our brave Louisiana citizens have met the call during war and disaster and deserve our full support.”

Representative Lance Harris: “As a former member of the England Authority, I know the importance of the 259 ATC to the safe and efficient military and civilian aircraft operations at Alexandria International Airport.  They are an asset to our state and nation that must not be lost.”

William Barron, Chairman, England Authority:  “The Legislative Delegation’s support is a tribute to the Louisiana citizens serving in the 259th who have braved storm and war in the service of 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. 

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.

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