FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 21, 2005
Schumer, Clinton Announce Congressional Approval Of $920,000 For Gabreski Airport In Westhampton
Senators Urged Conference Committee To Include Funding In Spending Bill for planning and design funds for Gabreski Airport
Schumer, Clinton: Defense Projects are Vitally Important for the New York State Economy and National Security
U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Hillary Rodham Clinton announced today that the Joint House Senate Appropriations Conference Committee approved $920,000 in the FY 2006 Military Construction Appropriations Bill towards a Pararescue Readiness Facility at Gabreski Airport in Westhampton.
"From World War II to the Korean War to the Cold War, Gabreski Airport’s unique location has made it key to defending both our region and our nation and protecting those traveling the Atlantic Ocean," Schumer said. "The bottom line is that there just isn’t space at Gabreski for a first-rare parachute rescue operation anymore, but almost a million dollars will go a long way.”
“This is great news for Gabreski – first they survived the BRAC process and now we have the federal funds to ensure that the 106th rescue wing will have the resources it needs. The men and women of the 106th are real life heroes and I am pleased that our colleagues in Congress agree with us that they need the best training and equipment to continue their life saving work,” Senator Clinton said.
Gabreski Airport is home to the New York Air National Guard 106th Rescue Wing. They perform search and rescue services, as well as coverage for the NASA space shuttle launches.
Gabreski Airport’s current pararescue (parachute rescue) operation is housed in two facilities that provide only 28 percent of required space, well below what the government authorizes for them. The lack of space for all the equipment maintenance shops requires that work be performed outside, which results in limited maintenance during portions of the year. The survival equipment shop is located in multiple facilities and the old facilities are separate from pararescue, their main user. Multiple facilities and lack of required space have created inefficiencies, command and control problems, and higher operating costs.
The FY 2006 Military Construction Appropriations Bill was approved by the Senate in September, and now having been released by the conference committee, must be approved by both chambers of Congress and sent to the President for his signature. Schumer and Clinton urged members of the Conference Committee to keep the funding for this project in this year’s spending bill.