Nearly 800 jobs are on the chopping block as the Pentagon begins the process of budget-cutting with military pull-back from Iraq. Ohio's Adjutant General Major General Deborah Ashenhurst says the national cutbacks will have a major impact on operations here.
The cost of war is seen in blood and money. The cost of peace may be seen in the loss of employment.
Key is the loss of 655 jobs at bases in Mansfield and Columbus. In the case of Lahm Air National Guard Base (ANGB) and the home of the 179th Airlift Wing, home to giant C-130 Hercules and C-27 Spartan transport craft. There will also be reductions in staff of 191 jobs at Columbus' Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base (ANGB), home of the 121st Air Refueling Wing.
(Ohio Adjutant General) The Air Force today published proposed personnel actions associated with plans to retire more than 300 aircraft nationwide, announced last month. In addition, there are plans at the Air National Guard level to move additional personnel positions among states to mitigate — to some extent — the impact of these cuts.
The net result of the proposed Air Force reductions and National Guard mitigation efforts involving Ohio is that 794 total jobs will be lost throughout the state. Of that, 309 are full-time positions and 485 are part-time positions.
“The Air Force cuts do not become effective until approved by Congress,” said Maj. Gen. Deborah A. Ashenhurst, Ohio adjutant general. “The Air National Guard continues to be the most cost-effective way to support the National Military Strategy, and we have substantial support in Congress for an approach that relies more heavily on the National Guard.”
It is not known at this time how the mitigation efforts will impact Ohio Air National Guard bases overall, but the breakdown of the Air Force’s proposed personnel reductions at Air National Guard bases in Mansfield and Rickenbacker is known:
- At Mansfield, 655 jobs will be lost (212 full-time and 443 part-time)
- At Rickenbacker, 191 jobs will be lost (57 full-time and 134 part-time)
In addition, the Springfield Air National Guard Base will lose 47 full-time jobs related to a leveling of staffing across all similar intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance units nationwide. However, the Ohio Air National Guard will gain new part-time jobs, in the medical and security forces fields, in the future. The timeframe for these new jobs and distribution to specific bases is to be determined.