WITH NIAGARA FALLS AIR RESERVE STATION AMONG FINALIST LOCATIONS FOR NEW AF ACTIVE-DUTY SQUADRON, SCHUMER CALLS SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE NOMINEE F. KENDALL DIRECTLY TO REQUEST A VISIT AND IMMEDIATELY CHOOSE NFARS UPON CONFIRMATION
NFARS Is Revealed To Be A Finalist Contender For Recapitalization Of Air Force Reserve Command Air Refueling Mission; Among 6 Locations Being Considered
Senator, In Direct Call To Air Force Secretary Nominee Last Month, Pushed For Official Visit And Final Selection; Touted Experienced 914th Air Refueling Wing
Schumer: New KC-46A Refueling Tankers Would Bring New Jobs & Funding, Helping NFARS & Niagara County Take Off
Following a direct phone call last month to Secretary of the Air Force nominee Frank Kendall, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer today announced Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station (NFARS) is among 6 finalist locations being considered as a base for the Air Force’s new KC-46A Pegasus refueling tankers. In his call with Secretary of the Air Force nominee Kendall, Schumer pushed for Mr. Kendall to visit NFARS as soon as he is confirmed and before final selection. Schumer touted the experience of the 914th Air Refueling Wing and said final selection would bring state-of-the-art Air Force equipment to NFARS, more than $100 million in investment, and about 175 new job opportunities to Niagara County.
“Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station is the perfect location for the Air Force’s new refueling tankers and deserves to be selected,” said Senator Schumer. “NFARS has continuously delivered for New York over the last 50 years as a reserve base and is already home to the “Lucky Third” 914th Air Refueling Wing. The existing infrastructure at this first-rate facility, combined with the phenomenal service members of the 914th, ensure that NFARS would be more than capable of hosting a new active-duty squadron. I stressed this to Air Force Secretary nominee Kendall in my call last month, and will continue to do everything in my power to bring the new 46A Pegasus to NFARS to create new jobs at the base and ensure that our troops have a reliable fuel source when training to protect our health and freedom.”
NFARS is being considered to host the new 46A Pegasus, along with 5 other locations across the U.S.: Beale Air Force Base in California, March Air Reserve Base in California, Grissom Air Reserve Base in Indiana, Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma and Joint Base Andrews-Naval Air Field in Maryland. Final selection would bring about $100 million in investment to the base.
Schumer has long fought for greater federal investment into NFARS. Last year, the senator fought to prevent President Trump from redirecting funding meant for NFARS, to the Southern border wall. The senator also explained that last year he helped bring the KC-135 tanker fleet back to NFARS after the departure of the C-130 mission. Schumer said that previously, NFARS had been flying aging C-130 tactical airlifters. The USAF eventually upgraded NFARS’s mission to the KC-135 aircraft after Schumer’s push. Schumer has visited NFARS in the past, including in 2017, and he worked with Air Force and National Guard officials to secure funding for a new training facility, building on the structures already in place at NFARS. Also in 2017, Schumer announced that the base would receive eight KC-135 aircraft, which brought nearly $25 million in investment, jobs and increased flight hours. Additionally, in last year’s appropriations bill Schumer secured critical language that recognizes the need for federal investment at NFARS in its bid to extend the taxiway to accommodate the air refueling mission of the Air Force Reserve.
Finally, in April of 2018, he visited NFARS and called for greater investment in the base. Specifically, Schumer announced a major push to secure nearly $50 million worth of long-overdue upgrades for NFARS. During the visit, Schumer highlighted specific projects that are desperately needed, including upgrades to the main security gate, expansion of the existing runway to better accommodate the base’s new KC-135 mission, and create new state-of-the-art facilities for civil engineering and the Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron. On September 27, 2018, Schumer met with Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson in-person to advocate for the infrastructure improvements at NFARS. The infrastructure improvements would be part of the investment made into NFARS if selected as the final location to host the tankers announced today.