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Lambert-St. Louis International Airport

The 131st Fighter Wing is located approximately 20 miles north west of downtown St. Louis, Missouri and is located just west of the main terminal at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. The Missouri Air National Guard traces its roots back to the 110th Observation Squadron, organized in 1923. Men, equipment and unit headquarters consolidated in new hanger at Lambert Field in 1931. In 1982, the new wing headquarters was formally dedicated to the memory of the Robertson brothers William, Frank and Daniel. The Guest of Honor at the Robertson Building grand opening was the sister of the brothers, Mrs. Betty Robertson. More than 500 members from the the 131st Fighter Wing and the tenant units located at Lambert International Airport were called into service to battle the the "Great Flood" of 1993.

Lambert is home to the James S. McDonnell USO, the largest airport USO in the world. A 5,700 sq. ft. modern, efficient facility, 450 volunteers work three shifts to accommodate 300 to 400 military members and their families 24 hours a day.

Initially, the area now known as Lambert - St. Louis International Airport was a balloon launch location called Kinloch Field. President Theodore Roosevelt, the first president to ride in an airplane, took his first ride at the Kinloch airfield. Soon after, the first experimental parachute jump in the world took place in St. Louis. Then, Major Albert Lambert purchased the 550 acres of land known as Kinloch Field and renamed it Lambert Field. Major Lambert was the first person in St. Louis to receive his private pilot's license, having taken his first flight in an airplane with Orville Wright.

On May 12, 1927, Col. Charles Lindbergh departed St. Louis for New York to begin his historic non-stop solo flight to Paris, France.

During WWII, airport traffic did not increase at the same rate as in previous years, yet by the same token, St. Louis' industry rapidly became aviation oriented. Three companies came into the forefront: Curtiss - Wright, Robertson, and the McDonnell Aircraft Company. Together, they manufactured over 3,000 military airplanes. Further development came when an air traffic control tower was built atop the Naval Air Reserve Building, and McDonnell Aircraft Corporation purchased land at Lambert to construct factory buildings.

Lambert now sits on approximately 2,000 acres of land. In 1996, over 27 million passengers traveled through the airport. The airfield is comprised of 5 runways, varying in length from 11,000 feet to 3,000 feet. There are 10 major airlines and 5 commuter airlines that use the 81 gates within the 4 concourses at Lambert.

BRAC 2005

Secretary of Defense Recommendations: In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to realign Lambert-St. Louis International Airport Air Guard Station, St. Louis, MO. The 131st Fighter Wing's F-15s (15 aircraft) would be distributed to the 57th Fighter Wing, Nellis Air Force Base, NV (nine aircraft), and 177th Fighter Wing, Atlantic City International Airport AGS, NJ (six aircraft). In the same recommendation, the 157 Air Operations Group (AOG) and the 218th Engineering Installation Group (EIG) would relocate from Jefferson Barracks geographically separated unit (GSU) into space at Lambert International. Jefferson Barracks real property accountability would transfer to the Army. The Air Force distributed reserve component F-15C force structure to bases with higher military value than Otis (88) and Lambert-St. Louis (127). The F-15C aircraft would be realigned to Nellis (13), Jacksonville Air Guard Station (24), and Atlantic City Air Guard Station (61). The Nellis bound aircraft would help form an enhanced aggressor squadron for Operation RED FLAG and the Atlantic City bound aircraft will provide expanded capability for the Homeland Defense mission. Assuming no economic recovery, this recommendation could result in a maximum potential reduction of 510 jobs (249 direct jobs and 261 indirect jobs) over the 2006-2011 period in the St. Louis, MS-IL, Metropolitan Statistical economic area (less than 0.1 percent).

Secretary of Defense Justification: The Air Force distributed reserve component F-15C force structure to bases with higher military value than Otis (88) and Lambert-St. Louis (127). The F-15C aircraft are realigned to Nellis (13), Jacksonville Air Guard Station (24), and Atlantic City Air Guard Station (61). The Nellis bound aircraft will help form an enhanced aggressor squadron for Operation RED FLAG, and the Atlantic City bound aircraft will provide expanded capability for the homeland defense mission.

Community Concerns: The Massachusetts community, including public officials, criticized DoD's Mission Compatability Index (MCI) scores for Otis, arguing they failed to account for ample unsaturated range space and operational expansion potential at the Massachusetts Military Reservation (MMR). They attributed most data call errors and inconsistencies to the fact that distant commands, rather than local officials, submitted the responses.

They claimed closing Otis would eliminate the bill payer for the MMR and shift substantial overhead costs to remaining non-DoD tenants, including the several hundred housing units used by their families, These other tenant commands were never consulted about the additional costs to them of DoD's proposal, as required by law.

Further, they said closing Otis would compromise New England's air defense and hurt recruiting and retention. They asserted the loss of experienced maintainers and pilots would harm mission capabilities and questioned whether Atlantic City could reconstitute the same level of operational readiness.

Additionally, they stated that Otis is an alternate landing site for NASA space shuttles, the MMR is a primary training location for tens of thousands of homeland security personnel, and the base contributes critical services to the surrounding region, including firefighting, water supply, and waste management. Finally, they asserted that aircraft cannot be removed, and National Guard bases closed or realigned, without the Governor's consent.

The Missouri community also criticized MCI scores, claiming the Air Force's use of a one-size-fits-all approach is inherently biased in favor of large active-duty bases. Community leaders noted the Air National Guard (ANG) Bureau limited the size of ANG installations depending on the units' number of aircraft and mission. Lambert AGS is inherently efficient because it is co-located with an existing civilian airport.

They focused on the loss of homeland security air protection in key regions of the Midwest, and noted some data-call questions were irrelevant. They also said implementation of DoD's recommendations could adversely affect training due to limited classroom slots and increased costs, and the announced DoD recommendation has already hurt recruiting and retention. The loss of experienced people and the subsequent negative impact on combat capability has been especially illtimed given the extensive demands of current combat missions.

Last, they asserted that aircraft cannot be removed, or National Guard bases closed or realigned, without the Governor's consent.

The Atlantic City New Jersey community supported DoD's proposal to expand and convert the 177th Fighter Wing, claiming its strategic location permits unparalleled air superiority coverage over five major US cities. New York City, in particular, can be reached within seven minutes of takeoff. The community was confident it could transfer to a new aircraft type, citing its 98.9 percent endstrength, very high Fully Mission Capable Rates, nearby training ranges, and modern infrastructure. Last, it expressed concern about retiring and relocating existing aircraft without first receiving new replacement aircraft from Otis and St. Louis.

Commission Findings: The Commission found that the Department of Defense recommendation to close Otis Air National Guard Base, and realign Lambert St. Louis International Airport Air Guard Station and Atlantic City Air Guard Station should be supported in concept, but with modifications for homeland defense reasons. Despite community concerns related to Otis and Lambert, the Commission agreed with the removal of F-15 aircraft from both locations. The Commission urges the Secretary of Defense to consult with the Secretary of the Department of homeland security and the Commandant, United States Coast Guard to minimize any impact of Otis' closure on the operations of the Coast Guard. The Commission establishes an F-15 wing at Jacksonville, FL, an F-16 wing at Atlantic City, NJ, and an F-16 wing at Burlington, VT, consistent with the Commission's Air National Guard and Reserve Laydown.

This recommendation directing aircraft movement and personnel actions in connection with Air National Guard installations and organizations is designed to support the Future Total Force. The Commission expects that the Air Force will find new missions where needed, provide retraining opportunities, and take appropriate measures to limit possible adverse personnel impact. The Commission's intent is that the Air Force will act to assign sufficient aircrew and maintenance personnel to units gaining aircraft in accordance with current, established procedures. However, the Commission expects that all decisions with regard to manpower authorizations will be made in consultation with the governor of the state in which the affected Air National Guard unit is located. Any manpower changes must be made under existing authorities, and must be made consistent with existing limitations. Some reclassification of existing positions may be necessary, but should not be executed until the Air Force and the state have determined the future mission of the unit to preclude unnecessary personnel turbulence. This recommendation is consistent with the Commission's Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Laydown Plan.

Commission Recommendations: The Commission found that the Secretary of Defense deviated substantially from final selection criterion 1, as well as from the Force Structure Plan. Therefore, the Commission recommends the following:

Realign Otis ANGB, MA. Distribute the fifteen F-15 aircraft assigned to the 102d Fighter Wing's (ANG) to meet the Primary Aircraft Authorizations (PAA) requirements established by the Base Closure and Realignment recommendations of the Secretary of Defense, as amended by the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission. The 253d Combat Communications Group, and 267th Communications Squadron will remain in place at Otis, with 104th Fighter Wing at Barnes providing administrative support as the parent wing. An air sovereignty alert (ASA) facility will be constructed at Barnes Municipal Airport Air Guard Station, MA. Firefighter positions from Otis will move to Barnes Municipal Airport Air Guard Station, MA.

If the Commonwealth of Massachusetts decides to change the organization, composition and location of the 102d Fighter Wing (ANG) to integrate the unit into the Future Total Force, all other personnel allotted to the 102d Fighter Wing (ANG) will remain in place and assume a mission relevant to the security interests of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and consistent with the integration of the unit into the Future Total Force, including but not limited to air mobility, C4ISR, Information Operations, engineering, flight training or unmanned aerial vehicles. Where appropriate, unit personnel will be retrained in skills relevant to the emerging mission.

This recommendation does not effect a change to the authorized end-strength of the Massachusetts Air National Guard. The distribution of aircraft currently assigned to the 102d Fighter Wing (ANG) is based upon a resource-constrained determination by the Department of Defense that the aircraft concerned will better support national security requirements in other locations and is not conditioned upon the agreement of the commonwealth.

Realign Lambert-St. Louis International Airport Air Guard Station, St. Louis, MO. Distribute the fifteen F-15 aircraft assigned to the 131st Fighter Wing to meet the Primary Aircraft Authorizations (PAA) requirements established by the Base Closure and Realignment recommendations of the Secretary of Defense, as amended by the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission. The 157th Air Operations Group (AOG) and the 218th Engineering Installation Group (EIG) will relocate from Jefferson Barracks geographically separated unit (GSU) into space at Lambert International. Jefferson Barracks real property accountability will transfer to the Army.

If the State of Missouri decides to change the organization, composition and location of the 131st Fighter Wing (ANG) to integrate the unit into the Future Total Force, all other personnel allotted to the 131st Fighter Wing (ANG) will remain in place and assume a mission relevant to the security interests of the State of Missouri and consistent with the integration of the unit into the Future Total Force, including but not limited to air mobility, C4ISR, Information Operations, engineering, flight training or unmanned aerial vehicles. Where appropriate, unit personnel will be retrained in skills relevant to the emerging mission.

This recommendation does not effect a change to the authorized end-strength of the Missouri Air National Guard. The distribution of aircraft currently assigned to the 131st Fighter Wing (ANG) is based upon a resource-constrained determination by the Department of Defense that the aircraft concerned will better support national security requirements in other locations and is not conditioned upon the agreement of the state.

Establish 18 PAA F-15 aircraft at the 125th Fighter Wing, Jacksonville International Airport Air Guard Station, Florida (ANG);

Establish 18 PAA F-16 aircraft at the 177th Fighter Wing, Atlantic City International Airport Air Guard Station, New Jersey (ANG);

Establish 18 PAA F-16 aircraft at the 158th Fighter Wing, Burlington International Airport Air Guard Station, Vermont (ANG).

The Commission found that this change and the recommendation as amended are consistent with the final selection criteria and the Force Structure Plan. The full text of this and all Commission recommendations can be found in Appendix Q.



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