VIENNA - If dealing with furloughs and a reduction in aircraft weren't already enough for the Youngstown Air Reserve Station, a loss of two more aircraft may be added to the cuts.
Members of the 910th Airlift Wing met Tuesday with the National Commission on the Structure of the Air Force (NCSAF) in Columbus to highlight their capabilities.
U.S. Rep. Timothy J. Ryan, D-Niles, , sent a letter of support to the commission: "I write to you today to express my strong support for the unique capabilities and opportunities at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station and to urge your panel to consider a reversal of current downsizing trends at YARS and to take full advantage of its resources."
NCSAF was formed to conduct a comprehensive study on the structure and effectiveness of the Air Force for anticipated missions. Commission members are touring various bases across the nation as well hearing missions briefings from the bases.
The 910th Airlift Wing met with them Tuesday and will be meeting with them again today as they tour the Mansfield-Lahm Air National Guard Base today. The NCSAF is not scheduled to visit the Youngstown station in Vienna.
Attempts to reach air station personnel on the tour Tuesday night were unsuccessful.
In his letter, Ryan references the station's most recent loss of two C-130 aircraft in May. The planes were loaned to a base in Little Rock, Ark., and permanently transferred there as part of the Department of Defense and Air Force's Force Structure Announcement and the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act.
According to Ryan's letter, the station may now be transferring a third plane out of its fleet and placing another into its backup inventory. This would take the number of primary aircraft authorizations down to eight C-130 cargo planes, though Ryan notes the station has the infrastructure to support 16 of the craft.
With the loss of aircraft comes the loss of reservists and civilian employees who are assigned to the station.
The previous loss of aircraft was estimated to effect about 50 civilian employees and up to 120 reservists.
Already, nearly 400 Department of Defense employees at the station are being forced to take unpaid days off work every Monday from July 15 to Aug. 26 as part of Congress' budget sequestration. This effectively shuts down the station's operations on furlough days.
"YARS offers a unique capability, being the Department of Defense's only large area fixed-wing aerial spray capability to control disease-carrying insects, pest insects, undesirable vegetation and to disperse oil spills in large bodies of water,'' Ryan wrote.
''I am concerned that the planned forced structure moves may endanger YARS spray capability and its ability to support other operations," he said.
The NCSAF will continue its tour of bases across the nation until Sept. 26. Other bases in Ohio that will be visited include Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Springfield Air National Guard Base, Rickenbacker ANGB and Mansfield ANGB.