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Press Release

For Immediate Release
February 1, 2013

Contact:
Communications Office
(603)271-2121

Governor Hassan Encourages Air Force to Base New KC-46A Tanker at Pease
Sends Letter to Air Force Chief of Staff Praising Capabilities of New Hampshire Air National Guard

CONCORD – Praising the men and women of the New Hampshire Air National Guard, Governor Maggie Hassan sent a letter to Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark A. Welsh encouraging the basing of the new KC-46A air refueling tanker with the 157th Air Refueling Wing at Pease Air National Guard base.

"On behalf of the 1.3 million citizens of New Hampshire, I want to express my strongest support for basing the Air Force's newest refueling tanker at the Pease Air National Guard facility in Newington," wrote Governor Hassan. "I believe the 157th Air Refueling Wing is ideally suited to be the first Air National Guard unit in the country to field the KC-46A."

Last month, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), who as members of the Senate Armed Services Committee have advocated for basing the KC-46A at Pease, announced that Pease is one of only five Air National Guard installations selected for the Air Force's candidate base list for the new tanker. The KC-46A next generation tanker will replace the KC-135 tankers that the Guard currently flies out of Pease.

"Since 1975, the 157th ARW has established a track record of unparalleled excellence, winning the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 11 times," the Governor wrote. "It has amassed 22 years of almost continuous operational missions for the Air Force since Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. The 157th ARW is strategically located on the East Coast and provides 24-7 support to Tanker Task Force missions. Its infrastructure at Pease includes the longest Air National Guard runway and parking ramp in the Northeast."

Over the coming months, the Air Force will conduct on-the-ground site surveys of each candidate base. They will then select preferred and reasonable alternative locations and begin an Environmental Impact Analysis Process in the spring of 2013. The selected Air National Guard base will receive aircraft beginning in fiscal year 2018.

Governor Hassan's letter concluded, "The men and women of the 157th Air Refueling Wing and 64th Air Refueling Squadron have proven they are more than capable of handling the challenges of the new tanker. They are skilled. They are war-tested. They are dedicated. New Hampshire and its citizens would be honored to have the KC-46A assigned to its National Guard."

Full text of the Governor's letter to General Welsh is below.

General Mark A. Welsh III
Air Force Chief of Staff
1670 Air Force Pentagon
Washington, DC 20330-1670

Dear General Welsh,

On behalf of the 1.3 million citizens of New Hampshire, I want to express my strongest support for basing the Air Force's newest refueling tanker at the Pease Air National Guard facility in Newington.

I believe the 157th Air Refueling Wing is ideally suited to be the first Air National Guard unit in the country to field the KC-46A. Since 1975, the 157th ARW has established a track record of unparalleled excellence, winning the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 11 times. It has amassed 22 years of almost continuous operational missions for the Air Force since Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

The 157th ARW is strategically located on the East Coast and provides 24-7 support to Tanker Task Force missions. Its infrastructure at Pease includes the longest Air National Guard runway and parking ramp in the Northeast.

In addition, the 157th ARW has air traffic control, fire protection, security and customs, and agricultural support already in place. The base's close proximity to major ground transportation nodes and a deep water port would allow the Air Force to leverage the KC-46A's cargo and aero-medical capabilities. KC-46As assigned to Pease would also be used by the 64th Air Refueling Squadron, an active associate flying alongside the 157th ARW. The addition of the 64th in 2009 has enabled the Wing to use their fleet of tankers more efficiently, increasing the number of missions flown annually by more than 1,000.

New Hampshire has a proud tradition of military service dating back to the founding of our nation. Today, the airmen and soldiers of our National Guard are embraced as true heroes by their communities. The support they and their families receive from employers, schools, and various local and state agencies has been unwavering.

The men and women of the 157th Air Refueling Wing and 64th Air Refueling Squadron have proven they are more than capable of handling the challenges of the new tanker. They are skilled. They are war-tested. They are dedicated.

New Hampshire and its citizens would be honored to have the KC-46A assigned to its National Guard.

With every good wish,

Margaret Wood Hassan
Governor