Reporting Rachel Slavik
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Big changes could be coming to the 934th Airlift Wing in Minneapolis and it could affect more than a thousand jobs. The Air Force is proposing to transfer the 934th’s current mission to another base.
This comes as a result of the president’s new defense strategy and budget proposal for 2013. The Air Force is looking to refocus and reduce the size of its forces to comply with the strategy.
Julia Gerlofs, whose husband is a member of the 934th Airlift Wing, has spent the last several months getting ready for one of life’s biggest transitions: becoming a mother. With a due date in just five weeks, she’s doing all she can to prepare, but in the last month, Julia and her husband, Jordan, got news of another change neither had planned on.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty around it and that was a bit stressful,” Julia said.
Jordan is a member of the 934th Airlift Wing, where he works as a mechanic. An Air Force proposal to transfer the unit’s eight C130′s has left the unit’s mission, to supply air support for the military, in limbo. That also includes the 1,400 who work there.
“I think with anyone who’s potentially losing a job, there’s uncertainty there,” Julia said.
If the C130s are transferred to a different base, Col. Darrell Young, the wing commander, said it does not mean the airmen of the 934th are out of a job. The unit would be ready to take on a new mission.
“I try to be optimistic,” Young said.
He does not yet know what that new mission might be, or even if the transfer will be approved, but he’s well aware of its affect on the unit.
“I try to keep them focused on the current mission,” Young said. “Let’s stay focused, let’s do that, and then embrace change, not fight change.”
But some have brought that fight to social media. A Save the 934th Facebook page has become a community of 500+ working to keep the mission based in Minneapolis.
“I really do believe this is an issue worth fighting for,” Julia said.
Congress and the president still need to sign off on the proposal, which affects bases in 14 other states.