Delegation Announces Meeting with Top Military Officials

Lawmakers, Dover Community Reps To Meet With Head of Airlift Command

WILMINGTON, DE (March 12, 2004) – Senators Joe Biden, Tom Carper and Congressman Mike Castle today announced that they will lead a team of community leaders to meet with top military officials at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois about the future of Dover Air Force Base and the C-130 Air Guard Wing at New Castle Airport. Governor Ruth Ann Minner and Dover Air Force Base Commander Colonel John Prey will also accompany the delegation and community leaders on the trip to Scott, scheduled for Monday, March 15. As part of the delegation’s ongoing dialogue about the nation’s airlift needs, Gen. John Handy, who serves as commander of U.S. Transportation Command (TRANSCOM) and of the Air Mobility Command, will brief Delaware lawmakers and Dover community leaders about the military’s ongoing airlift needs. TRANSCOM is responsible for all global air, land and sea transportation for the Department of Defense. Last year, at a meeting with General Handy, the delegation secured the Air Force’s support for the construction of a multi-million-dollar aerial port facility to replace the one that was lost in February 2003. That commitment led to Congress approving some $57.5 million for the project last year – the only such domestic military construction project that was included in the $87 billion emergency spending bill for our military operations in Iraq. This year, the delegation plans to discuss with General Handy and the Air Force the difficulty in meeting the ever-growing need for greater airlift capacity, particularly in times of war. On Wednesday, in congressional testimony, General Handy expressed great concern that the nation’s strategic airlift needs were not yet clearly defined. The delegation will also discuss the future of the C-5 modernization program, the schedule for basing new C-17 aircraft at Dover AFB, the need to construct a new air traffic control tower at Dover AFB, the participation of the Delaware Air National Guard’s C-130s in current military operations, and other issues. Knowing that a strong and dedicated community can have a positive impact on any decisions related to the future of a military base, the delegation is pleased that the community leaders will be able to participate in various meetings with Handy and other officials on Monday. “We’re going as a united front in support of the vital role that both Dover and New Castle play in the war on terrorism,” said the delegation. “We’re pleased that community leaders from around the state will be joining us Monday to demonstrate the unbelievable support the Air Force enjoys in our state.”