Hoeven Works with Guard, Air Force Leaders to Ensure ND Defense Priorities

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today met with North Dakota National Guard leaders, Adj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, Brig. Gen. Al Dohrmann and Civil Engineer Steve Tabor, to continue working to retain a manned flying mission for the state’s Air Guard. Hoeven also met with Col. Timothy Bush in support of missions at the Grand Forks Air Force Base.  

“Our National Guard members and Airmen do a tremendous job defending our state and nation,” said Hoeven. “In meetings today with leaders of the North Dakota Guard and the Air Force we worked to further our state’s defense priorities, including ensuring a manned flying mission for the Happy Hooligans and securing a new KC-46 Air Refueling Tanker mission for Grand Forks Air Force Base. North Dakota provides key capabilities to keep our nation secure. We need to continue building on these strengths to provide our nation with the best possible defense.” 

Hoeven and the North Dakota Guard leaders are working to retain a manned flying mission for the Air Guard. The Administration’s proposed cancellation of the C-27J Spartan program, along with the scheduled end of the C-21 mission, would leave the Happy Hooligans without a flying mission. Hoeven worked to ensure that funding for the C-27J program was included in authorization and appropriation legislation passed by Congress in December. This would keep the Air Guard on track to receive four C-27J aircraft in 2013. However, the President’s budget proposal seeks to cancel funding for the C-27J. Hoeven has said this is unacceptable, and is working along with the congressional delegation to retain the C-27J program or provide another manned flying mission for the Happy Hooligans. 

In Senator Hoeven’s meeting with Col.Bush, they discussed the future of Grand Forks Air Force Base.  Hoeven remains committed to making the base a prime candidate for the Air Force’s new KC-46 Air Refueling Tankers, and he has been encouraging Air Force officials to maintain current fuel lines and station the new tankers at the base.  Senator Hoeven said the addition of these tankers would lend to the key role Grand Forks continues to have in our nation’s defense, especially with the new Global Hawks slated to arrive this summer and the activation of a new unit on base.