Officials Rally with Supporters of Air Force Wings

Veterans and local officials protest the planned closing of one Moon Township military base and reductions at another.

The region's military supporters joined county and national officials Tuesday night in Pittsburgh to protest the planned closure of the Moon-based 911th Airlift Wing

More than 150 veterans and others gathered at a rally at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall in Oakland to urge U.S. military officials to reconsider closing the airlift wing 

The Air Force announced plans earlier this year to the 911th in 2013, eliminating 1,100 military and 280 civilian jobs in the move. The neighboring 171st Refueling Wing also has been targeted for realignment and personnel layoffs.

U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair, stood alongside U.S. Reps. Mike Doyle, D-Forest Hills, Jason Altmire, D-McCandless, and Mark Critz, D-Johnstown, and also Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. Together, they spoke out on behalf of the air bases, which are among the bases and facilities included in a Pentagon plan to cut as much as $8.7 billion from the U.S. Air Force's 2013 budget.

The Air Force targeted the 911th for closure because of the  of its eight C-130 aircraft, which are among the oldest tactical aircraft still flying for the military.

Supporters of the bases, however, have that their use of runways at Pittsburgh International Airport make them among the most cost-effective military installations in the country. 

Rally-goers often erupted in applause throughout the event, which was sponsored by Allegheny County Veterans Affairs

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