Mansfield Lahm Airport (ANG)
The 179th Airlift Wing (AW) of the Ohio Air National Guard occupies two separate portions of land (the main base area and the POL area, linked by a road included in the lease) totaling 67 acres of leased land on the Mansfield Lahm Airport. The Mansfield Lahm Airport sits approximately 3 miles north of the city of Mansfield, located in north-central Ohio, halfway between Cleveland and Columbus. The mission of the 179th AW is to develop highly qualified operations, logistics, support, and medical professionals who provide theater airlift and mission support to serve the community, state, and nation.
The unit currently flies the C-130 Hercules. The 179th AW occupies 4 administrative and 29 industrial buildings totaling approximately 265,000 square feet with 370 full-time personnel. A unit training drill is conducted once a month and results in a surge of up to a total of 945 personnel.
There are two construction projects in progress, which when complete, will add approximately 45,000 square feet of building space. The first involves Buildings 200 and 300 and is titled "Replace Security Forces Complex". This was scheduled for completion in 2001, and as part of this project Building 200 will be demolished after the new building 300 is occupied. The second project is titled "Replace Squadron Operations and Communications Complex" and was funded for contract award by 30 September 2001. Additionally, the city of Mansfield is planning to realign Harrington Memorial Road, which would add six acres to the installation, to be used as an automobile parking lot. The date of implementation of this plan is in 2002.
Mansfield Lahm Airport is located in the heart of North Central Ohio. The airport has demonstrated capability to handle large commercial and military aircraft including the USAF C-5 and the Antonov 124-100. Mansfield Lahm Airport is just over a one hour drive to downtown Cleveland or Columbus; near Interstate I-71, US Rt 30, State Rt. 13; has a 9,000 ft. x 150 ft. primary runway with 1,000 ft. overruns at each end and has a crosswind runway of 6,795 ft. x 150 ft.; plus overruns. It offers a precision instrument approach (ILS), plus VOR, NDB, RNAV and ASR approaches; has a full service FBO; Richland Aviation, Inc. and encompasses over 2,400 acres with immediate access to a number of adjoining industrial parks.
Mansfield Lahm is one of north central Ohio's most important transportation facilities. A recent National Air Transportation Association study listed Mansfield Lahm as one of the nation's 100 most needed airports -- the only airport in Ohio on that list. Businesses throughout the Richland County area utilize Mansfield Lahm's facilities. Over the years, Mansfield Lahm has seen the Antonov 124-100 cargo plane land with 110 tons of European Consortium space vehicles.
In 1925, community leaders encouraged Mansfield City Council to consider and purchase 190 acres of farm land for $15,000. The land would be used to make an "airplane landing field." That landing served as an airport where 1,500 pilots for the armed forces were trained through the Civilian Pilot Training Corps during World War II.
In 1948, the 164th Fighter squadron of the Ohio Air National Guard was formed at Mansfield Lahm Airport (then named the Mansfield Municipal Airport), and has been an integral part of the airport since. During 1948 community leaders formed an advisory committee, chaired by Colonel Alan P. Tappan, owner of Tappan Stove. The Advisory Committee's goal was to locate an Air National Guard Base in Mansfield, OH. The committee received an ultimatum from the Air Force, "Provide the amount of men required to support a unit, and Mansfield will receive their unit."
An impressive air show marked the dedication of a new administration building in September of 1967. The building was named in honor of Brigadier General Frank P. Lahm. Mansfield Municipal Airport was then named Mansfield Lahm Airport. Brigadier General Frank Purdy Lahm of the U.S. Army Air Forces devoted almost 50 years of his life to aviation. In 1963 he was enshrined into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in Dayton, Ohio.
Secretary of Defense Recommendation: In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to close Mansfield-Lahm Municipal Airport Air Guard Station (AGS), OH. It would distribute the eight C-130H aircraft of the 179th Airlift Wing (ANG) to the 908th Airlift Wing (AFR), Maxwell AFB, AL (four aircraft), and the 314th Airlift Wing, Little Rock AFB, AR (four aircraft). Flying related Expeditionary Combat Support (ECS) moves to Louisville IAP AGS, KY (aerial port) and Toledo Express Airport AGS, OH (fire fighters).
The total estimated one-time cost to the Department of Defense to implement this recommendation would be $33.4M. The net of all costs and savings to the Department during the implementation period would be a savings of $3.1M. Annual recurring savings after implementation would be $8.7M, with a payback period expected in three years. The net present value of the cost and savings to the Department over 20 years would be a savings of $86.2M. Assuming no economic recovery, this recommendation could result in a maximum potential reduction of 528 jobs (234 direct jobs and 294 indirect jobs) over the 2006-2011 period in the Mansfield, OH, Metropolitan Statistical economic area (0.7 percent). Impacts of costs include $0.2M in costs for environmental compliance and waste management.
Secretary of Defense Justification: This recommendation would distribute C-130 aircraft to two bases with higher military value, Little Rock Air Force Base (17) and Maxwell Air Force Base (21). Additionally, these transfers would move C-130 force structure from the Air National Guard to the Air Force Reserve and active duty--addressing a documented imbalance in the active/Air National Guard/Air Force Reserve manning mix for C-130s.
Community Concerns: The Columbus, OH, community criticized Mission Compatability Index (MCI) scores, claiming Air Force use of a one-sizefits-all approach is inherently biased in favor of large active-duty bases and did not accurately reflect the site's available ramp and hangar capacity. In addition to community concerns over the 300 jobs at risk, representatives contended it would be more cost effective to increase the number of the site's aircraft because of high relocation-related military construction costs and because it has the highest personnel rating of any Air National Guard C-130 unit. Furthermore, they argued recent Congressional earmarks for infrastructure improvements could sustain the base's flying mission through 2015, and a nearby industrial park relies on Mansfield-Lahm for fire protection services.
Last, the community noted there was extremely limited communication between the Air Force, National Guard Bureau, the Adjutants General, and the State governors. They claimed Air Force failure to engage their reserve component counterparts hurt morale and jeopardized a previously longstanding and good relationship.
Commission Findings: The Commission found that the Department of Defense recommendation to close Mansfield-Lahm Municipal Airport Air Guard Station was not supportable. The Commission establishes an enclave at Mansfield-Lahm Municipal Airport Air Guard Station, Ohio. The Commission established a C-130 wing at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. This recommendation is consistent with the Commission's Air National Guard Laydown plan.
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.
Commission Recommendations: The Commission found that the Secretary of Defense deviated substantially from final selection criteria 1, 2, 4 and 6, as well as from the Force Structure Plan. Therefore, the Commission recommends the following:
Realign Mansfield-Lahm Municipal Airport Air Guard Station (AGS), OH. Distribute the 179th Airlift Wing's C-130H aircraft 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.
Establish 8 C-130H PAA at the 908th Airlift Wing (AFR), Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.
Establish a contiguous enclave for the 179th Airlift Wing (ANG) sufficient to support operations of that unit, including flight operations, and compatible with joint use of the Mansfield-Lahm Municipal Airport as a civilian airport.
If the State of Ohio decides to change the organization, composition and location of the 179th Airlift Wing (ANG) to integrate the unit into the Future Total Force, all personnel allotted to the 179th Airlift Wing (ANG), including the unit's Expeditionary Combat Support (ECS) elements, will remain in place and assume a mission relevant to the security interests of the State of Ohio 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 Ohio Air National Guard. The distribution of aircraft currently assigned to the 179th Airlift 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.
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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