U.S. Senators Bill Frist and Lamar Alexander joined Governor Phil Bredesen today in applauding the Department of Defense’s announcement that three new missions are being directed to the Tennessee Air National Guard. As part of this process, the 118th Airlift Wing is being considered for a joint cargo aircraft flying follow-on mission.
If awarded, the mission would ensure that the 118th continues its operation at Berry Field and would keep approximately 700 jobs in the Nashville area, including the state’s only Aero Medical Unit.
“This announcement is great news for the 118th and the Nashville area. This new assignment would allow the unit to continue its work without facing any loss of personnel,” Frist said. “I will continue working hard to ensure the valuable contributions of the 118th are recognized and that the unit continues flying. Today’s announcement marks tremendous progress for the community and for the experienced, dedicated men and women of the 118th who help keep our state and nation safe.”
“This would maintain a flying mission for the 118th and I’m pleased the Defense Department is considering it,” Alexander said. “This is just one more example of how Tennessee benefits from Bill Frist being the Majority Leader of the United States Senate. This would not be happening without his leadership, and we’ll continue to work together throughout this process.”
"The 118th is one of the premier flying wings in the Air National Guard. It's rewarding to know that we are being considered for these missions and we hope to receive definitive word shortly," Bredesen said. "I'd like to thank Majority Leader Frist, Senator Alexander and our entire congressional delegation for their strong support of the Tennessee Guard so they can continue to serve and protect the citizens of Tennessee."
Last year, the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission recommended the removal of the 8 C-130 aircraft operated by the 118th at Berry Field.
Frist, Alexander and Bredesen strongly opposed the commission’s recommendation because of the 118th’s many contributions to homeland security and emergency response across Tennessee, and they have worked to secure a flying follow-on mission.