Maryland Air National Guard May Soon Lose Cargo Planes & Jobs

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—With the budget ax starting to swing at the Pentagon, Maryland’s Air National Guard is taking a big hit.

Alex DeMetrick reports the Air Force is eliminating the local guard’s cargo planes and possibly jobs as well.

Whether it’s delivering a paratrooper or a pallet of supplies, Maryland’s Air National Guard is flying a smaller twin engine cargo plane.

This spring, those planes and crews start deploying to Afghanistan.  When they return, the Air Force is planning to eliminate the planes, and the heart of Maryland’s airlift capability.

“That’s a concern for us,” said Col. Scott Kelly, Maryland Air National Guard.

That’s because these planes aren’t just used in war. They also bring supplies to disaster zones. Removing them will save the Air Force money, but maybe not jobs.

“You’ve got the fliers, the pilots.  You’ve got the loadmasters, maintenance, so 250 to 300, somewhere in that range of individuals, who keep this thing up and running,” said Kelly.

“The sentiment is everybody loves this mission. They love flying,” said Col. Thomas Hans, Maryland Air National Guard. “But we understand we’re here to serve the country, and if they take that mission away from us and give us another mission, we’ll make that succeed as well.”

That new mission will likely focus on cyber security and intelligence gathering.

The guard views that as a plus, but “what the impact’s going to be, we don’t know yet,” Kelly said.

While the impact of losing these planes is still down the road, what’s most in focus now is the deployment to Afghanistan.

“Let’s worry about what we need to do today for the job,” Kelly said, “as we try to figure out what’s to come personnel wise”–when the planes leave Maryland for good.

Eliminating the cargo planes must still be approved by Congress.

The planes will remain with the Maryland Air National Guard through at least September when they return from Afghanistan.

More from Alex DeMetrick
  • Kay

    This is such a bad idea. When natural disasters happen each states Nat’l Guard are the go to guys and the planes are extremely necessary. With Iran making threats everyday, we need the planes to be on our tarmac’s, not grounded somewhere to go to rack and ruin

    • justin

      I can see how many will think this is a bad thing, but think of it this way…each state has national guard, most of those states have cargo planes, does every state need the planes? how much money is wasted in states where there really are no major disasters? This is all just a small part of a larger picture, getting out of debt.

      • Dave

        I spent 21 years at Martins with the Md ANG. What people don’t realize is that these planes flew for our country 6 days a week for the last 4 decades. All branches of the armed forces, the DOD and the State of Md all depended on these planes. They also carried our fallen heros from Dover to their hometowns all over this country. Losing this valuable resource will directly affect 600 people and our local economy. Most of those employed there are locals. Plus, this is the ONLY air national guard base in Maryland. I think it’s a shame.

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  • davon

    ok so we will make the mechanic into a cyber warrior???? anybody smell blarny. The mechanic is likely someone with 10 years experence… into a fresh new cyber warrior in 1 month… This is stupid. The Army Reserves is a better spot for cyber warriors as they have larger populations of college age individuals and have the robust logistical network that you wont find at some airbase.

  • chuck

    great news. that means the A-10 figher jets won’t be flying thru my living rom every day!!!

    • Dave

      Hello, but the A-10s are staying. This article has nothing to do with them.

    • Bob

      A-10 are not “fighter jets” They are Tank Killing ground support Aircraft

    • justin

      be glad they arn’t F-16s or F-15s. A-10s dont make any noise compared to those.

  • chuckles

    An Army base? Really?

  • rich

    When will they start closiing some of the 900 bases we have outside of our borders/

    • JT

      The article didn’t say anything about the A-10, only the Hercules cargo plane. The A-10 isn’t going anywhere.

  • FrAn

    for a rdacial socialist leftist he has a funny way of showing it. cutting corporate taxes and shedding clean air regulations is conservative, not leftist, but i guess that doesn’t fit in the sphere of hate against obama. btw bush good on civil liberties? joke, right? indefinite detention, torture, warrantless wiretapping. one of the worst things about obama is how he expanded bush’s civil liberties ruination policies.

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