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Missouri Governor Meets with 139th Airlift Wing Via Teleconference

Jay Nixon couldn't make a meeting with airmen at Rosecrans due to inclement weather, but the meeting still went off without a hitch.
(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Grey skies are one indicator on why Missouri Governor Jay Nixon was unable to make a meeting with the 139th Airlift Wing.

"Any pilot as I am would know it's not a good day to fly with all the freezing rain," said Colonel Ralph Schwader, Wing Commander for the 139th.

So those in the board room meet with the governor via teleconference.

The officers here want to see the Advanced Airlift Tactics Training Center (AATTC) grow, and the governor shows his support.

"We always strive to stay on the leading edge with the Air Force and equipment.  So we're looking for new aircraft; that would be the C-130J.  We're also looking for possible simulator expansion," Col. Schwader said.

At a yearly symposium, AATTC students got to use a flight simulator, a piece of training equipment that would cut flight training costs significantly.

But facility expansions aren't guaranteed.

About a year ago, the state of Missouri funded a study examining the economic impact of military bases in the state.

The study says it in preparation for the US Department of Defense to make budget cuts and potential realign or close facilities.

In that study it's written:

"There is tremendous and unprecedented uncertainty surrounding how DoD budgeting will be executed.  However, there is widespread consensus that the primary question will not be whether DoD spending is reduced, but by how deep and far-reaching."

Governor Nixon quotes this study's findings as well:

"The Missouri National Guard alone supports more than 18,205 direct and indirect jobs," he told the board room.  "The payroll and expenditures and indirect impact are estimated at more the $943 million annually."

So the governor has signed Executive Order 14-01, creating the Missouri Military Partnership.

It will be led by State Treasurer Clint Zweifel.

"This is not merely about protecting what we have," Governor Nixon said.  "This is about assisting our military when they are placed in new missions, and enhancing those missions."

City and Buchanan County officials also sat in on the meeting.

The airmen here say they love the support the city of St. Joseph shows them.

"We want to ensure that the 139th is not only maintained, it also shows growth," said Steve Johnston from the Community Alliance of St. Joseph

The new Missouri Military Partnership will prepare a new report on the military impact on the state economy and quality of life.

That report will be complete by the end of March.
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