Harrisburg, Sept. 29, 2015 The effort to keep National Guard Apache helicopters based in Johnstown at the John Murtha-Cambria County Airport received a boost today when a resolution sponsored by Sen. John N. Wozniak (D-Cambria/Bedford/Clearfield) won the unanimous approval of the state Senate.
Senate Resolution 149 calls on the U.S. Army to reverse its decision to integrate National Guard Apache helicopters into the active army until the national force integration study is complete, Wozniak said. This is the only fair, equitable and reasonable approach on the table.
The National Commission on the Future of the Army is now examining force structure alternatives. The report is due in February.
Wozniak said there are 350 jobs associated with the unit in Johnstown with an economic impact valued at $45 million. The 1-104th Attack Battalion has 24 units in its complement, with a large portion of the aircraft based in Johnstown.
There are many reasons why the aviation unit should stay at its current base of operations in Johnstown in its current capacity, Wozniak said. It costs significantly less to train a member of the guard, the unit is well-positioned for national defense, and it helps support the regional economy.
Wozniak said it is important to keep pressure on federal lawmakers as they work through bills dealing with the National Guard, U.S. Army and force integration.
Wozniak teamed with his Cambria County colleagues state Reps. Bryan Barbin (D-Cambria), Frank Burns (D-Cambria) and Tommy Sankey (R-Cambria) who helped push the resolution through the state House of Representatives.
I am pleased and grateful for the efforts of my colleagues in both parties and in both chambers for helping push this important resolution through the process, Wozniak said.
Senate Resolution 149 was introduced in June and was adopted by the Senate on June 22. However, the House amended the proposal and it was finally adopted on June 30. Copies of the resolution will be transmitted to the president, secretary of defense and members of Congress from Pennsylvania.