W.Va. National Guard welcomes new military planes, bright future

Published: Aug. 9, 2021 at 3:10 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - You might have noticed the large military planes flying to and from missions along the Charleston skyline.

Sunday those planes will be replaced after the air force selected the McLaughlin Air National Guard Base to replace and house 8 new C130-J military planes.

“We were already at a really high level and we were worried we would be taken off that level. Now I think we are staying there. We have excelled in our state and federal mission for years,” Wing Commander Col. Bryan Preece with the W.Va. Air National Guard said.

Preece said this station is known for excellence but 16 years ago, the base was about to close.

“In 2005 they announced we were on the list for BRAC which is base realignment and closure so they were going to close us we managed to survive that but ever since then the H-model aircraft has been uncertain,” Preece said.

Having an older fleet of aircrafts meant their capability to serve large military planes could be taken away.

W.Va. National Guard leader Brigadier General Bill Crane said it is an honor and privilege to be selected by the Air Force as one of five states to keep the 50-million-dollar birds and a cause to celebrate.

“They can fly longer, haul more, and they are much more fuel efficient. It makes an incredible difference,” Crane said.

Housing these planes will help maintain the base’s stability for the next 20 years, bringing with it an opportunity to continue high level missions.

“As we are coming out of Afghanistan and Iraq, these are the aircraft they will use to haul the people and the equipment out of theater,” Crane said.

Crane said tough training is underway in order to get the planes in the sky. Two of the eight planes arrived Sunday although eventually all eight will be at the McLaughlin Base.

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