By Tad Vezner
The U.S. Air Force's Minnesota-based 934th Airlift Wing will be retained for service through the following fiscal year.
The Pentagon decided that the unit will remain in operation through fiscal year 2014, according to a joint news release by U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken and U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison. The 934th, part of the Air Force Reserve, operates eight C-130 Hercules cargo and troop-transport aircraft.
The decision came after the proposed elimination of the 934th as part of the Air Force's 2013 budget submission. In January, however, Congress approved the Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, which mandated additional airlift aircraft beyond what the Air Force proposed.
"Although we were required to retain aircraft only through the end of this fiscal year, we extended the aircraft through FY14 to allow time to complete additional analysis," Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley said in a statement.
"The service will reassess force structure during the fiscal 2015 budget cycle," the Air Force Public Affairs Agency added Wednesday, March 13.
Currently, the 934th Airlift Wing is home to 1,300 "Flying Viking" reservists, 250 of whom are full time.
The unit, along with the 133rd Airlift Wing of the Minnesota Air National Guard, is based at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Joint Air Reserve Station adjacent Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.