CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Members of West Virginia’s National Guard will soon be seeing some improvements that will allow them to train here in West Virginia.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced Monday that a training airstrip will be built in Logan County and a new bridge will be built in Charleston. He said this will ensure that the 1,100 members of the 130th Airlift Wing in West Virginia can stay up to date on training.
“These two projects I announced today are another step forward to ensure our air guard members remain ready for duty and to give them the first-rate training opportunity they need to come back home safely,” Tomblin said.
"Losing the 130th Airlift Wing is not an option,” Major General James Hoyer of the West Virginia National Guard said. “(The) 130th is responsible for bringing more than $89 million federal dollars to the state's economy, not to mention emergency response for the airport and the surrounding community.”
A 2005 federal report recommended that the 130th Airlift Wing should be closed. The report noted that in order to improve, the 130th needed a practice airstrip and a more secure base. For the last two years, the 130th has been using the former Camp Branch mine site in Logan County to conduct air drop training almost weekly. Now, there will be a 60-foot wide, 4,200-foot long dirt airstrip for flight practice built there.
The security of the base will be improved by closing the current entrance to Coonskin Park and opening a new park entrance and bridge over the Elk River in Mink Shoals.
The project is expected to be finished in two years.
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