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The future of Battle Creek's 110th Air Base uncertain due to sequester cuts
BATTLE CREEK (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – One future mission is of the table for the 110th Air Base in Battle Creek.
You saw it first here on Newschannel 3, minutes after the military announced it will not be sending C130 cargo planes to the base.
It means a year from now at the latest, there will be no planes on the National Guard Air Base in Battle Creek.
With furloughs looming if sequestration continues late April, the news is not coming at the best time.
“It all kinda builds into that perfect storm,” said Colonel Ron Wilson, 110th Airlift Wing Commander.
“We are very disappointed because we had hoped for that additional mission to keep our runway open and maintenance folks out here,” said Wilson.
This means more jobs and millions of dollars won’t be invested on base.
On the upside, no one will be laid off. That’s because another mission is in the works. The RPA MQ9’s, more commonly known as drones are coming.
There will be pods where pilots will remotely control drones flying anywhere around the world.
“We'll start training and building facilities for that immediately. The pilot will sit in and control that aircraft, and it could be in Afghanistan or anywhere in the world and we'll be right here in Battle Creek,” said Wilson.
For now, the base will continue its mission to fly VIP’s across the country in the C21 planes which ends next year.
The multi-million dollar control tower, which oversees air traffic half way around the world will also remain open.
The hope is that this new drone mission will keep them in the skies for years to come.
“Very futuristic missions. Its where the country is going. These are our missions we can build on for a long time,” said Wilson.