The Air Force has notified Congress that it will establish the C-27J training schoolhouse at Key Field Air National Guard Base in Meridian, Miss., home of the 186th Air Refueling Wing. The service will bed down personnel and two C-27J transports there in the second half of 2014 to train C-27 pilots, loadmasters, and maintenance crews, according to a joint statement issued by Mississippi lawmakers. The training mission will be fully operational in 2015 with 142 personnel. Key Field is already slated to host four operational C-27s starting in early Fiscal 2012, giving the base six of the 38 C-27s that the Air Guard will operate. Last December, the Air Force identified Key Field as its preferred training site, pending the completion of an environmental impact study. The study found that the training mission would have “no significant impact,” said the lawmakers.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.