August 17, 2021

Duckworth, Durbin, Bustos, Pritzker & Mayor Ali Tour 182nd Airlift Wing, Secure Commitment from Air Force Chief of Staff to Safeguard Wing’s Mission and C-130 Aircraft

Senator Duckworth also secured an amendment in the upcoming NDAA to establish a minimum total aircraft inventory of 292 C-130s as part of her efforts to ensure the 182nd’s mission continues for years to come


[PEORIA, IL] – Combat Veteran and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today led U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), U.S. Representative Cheri Bustos (D-IL-17), Illinois Governor JB Pritzker and Peoria Mayor Rita Ali on a visit to the Illinois Air National Guard’s 182nd Airlift Wing in Peoria to meet with officials and discuss the provision she secured in the committee-passed Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to establish a minimum total aircraft inventory of 292 C-130s. The Senator’s provision, if signed into law, would help secure the 182nd Wing’s mission for years to come. While there, the group met with 182nd Commander Col. Daniel McDonough, Illinois Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Richard Neely and U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Charles Brown, and secured a commitment from the Chief of Staff that the Peoria-based Airlift Wing will keep its aircraft and flying mission even if the Air Force makes future reductions elsewhere. Photos from today’s event are available here.

“C-130s have been so essential to the National Guard in carrying out work both at home and abroad, bringing Americans into combat, providing humanitarian relief around the globe and supporting domestic responses throughout the nation for more than 50 years,” Duckworth said. “I’m proud that we secured today’s commitment from the Air Force Chief of Staff to keep the 182nd’s aircraft right here where they belong and that I successfully included a provision in this year’s committee-passed NDAA to maintain a minimum total aircraft inventory of C-130s. Establishing this minimum would ensure the 182nd’s mission remains for years to come and it also means that our National Guard units across the country—and right here in Peoria—have the ability to respond to new emergencies and domestic missions.”

“It was an honor to host Air Force Chief of Staff General Brown in Peoria and show him first-hand the expertise and capabilities at the 182nd Airlift Wing,” Durbin said. “We must invest in the Air Force’s C-130 fleet. We know well in Peoria how critical these aircraft are – to operations both overseas and in the homeland. That is why I’ve been proud to partner with Senator Duckworth to lead bipartisan efforts in the NDAA to protect against cuts within the Air Force’s inventory of tactical airlift that would hurt National Guard units across the country. And I’m proud that she joined me in a bipartisan effort to fund new C-130s through the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.”

“Peoria’s 182d Airlift Wing routinely ranks as one of the top performing units in the nation, and I was so pleased to join Senators Durbin and Duckworth today to announce that their C-130 aircrafts are here to stay,” said Congresswoman Bustos. “Our men and women in uniform in Peoria play a key role in our nation’s defense, and we must ensure they remain strong into the future. That’s why, as a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, I’ve worked to make sure they are well-equipped with resources they need, such as $79 million for engine upgrades and $151 million for new propellers.”

“No one fights harder for our men and women in uniform, especially those here in Illinois, than Senator Tammy Duckworth,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Because of her hard work and that of Senator Dick Durbin, Representative Cheri Bustos, and the Illinois Congressional Delegation, the tools to keep us strong and prepared will continue to be available for the Illinois National Guard – putting tangible resources behind our commitment to serve those who serve us.”

In Peoria, Illinois, the 182nd Airlift Wing’s current C-130H mission performs the tactical portion of various airlift missions and has a strong history of outstanding performance, including the highest C-130H mission capability rate in the Air National Guard from 2009-2017. The 182nd has also achieved the most fully mission capable C-130 hours since June 2013 while flying the most hours since October 2012 from a deployed location. 

In May, Duckworth led a bipartisan group of 13 senators in advocating for the established minimum total aircraft inventory to be included in this year’s NDAA. Last November, Duckworth joined a bipartisan group of Senators in advocating for a large enough C-130 aircraft fleet in Illinois and across the country to support active duty missions as well as respond to disasters and emergencies at home. The effort supported state requests led by Illinois Governor JB Pritzker and 13 other Governors.  Duckworth also recently secured a commitment from General Charles Brown, Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force, to address the gap in advanced air mobility capability that is suitable for distributed warfare in the Indo-Pacific and to work with the National Guard on C-130 issues.

Duckworth is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Chair of the SASC Airland Subcommittee. She is an Iraq War Veteran who served in the Reserved Forces for 23 years before retiring from military service in 2014 at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. A full list of the Duckworth-authored and supported FY2022 NDAA provisions is available here. The FY2022 NDAA is now set to be considered by the full U.S. Senate.