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Tinker Reserve Unit To Inactivate If Defense Budget Approved

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OKLAHOMA CITY -

The 513th Air Control Group, the only reserve unit that performs the Airborne Warning and Control System mission, will inactivate if the fiscal 2015 Department of Defense budget is enacted into law, according to officials with Tinker Air Force Base.

Air Force Reserve Command's 513th ACG is currently partnered with the active duty 552nd Air Control Wing in a classic association. The active duty unit maintains control of the aircraft while reservists from the 513th ACG provide qualified crews and personnel to fly and maintain the aircraft.

"We understand the Air Force has to make tough choices in an extremely difficult fiscal environment. The proposed inactivation of the 513th is part of these tough choices," said Col. David Robertson, 513th ACG commander.

According to a news release on Wednesday, the possible inactivation of the 513th means the AWACS mission will continue solely with the active duty force flying all the required missions.

"There are 345 citizen airmen in our unit who support and operate the E-3 AWACS. These citizen airmen have extended America's global power worldwide for over 15 years. Most of them work and live in the local Oklahoma communities and have for most of their career. Most consider themselves adoptive Oklahomans and truly care for their communities," Col. Robertson said.

Col. Robertson said until the proposal is enacted into law, they will continue to perform their command and control mission while staying committed and focused on the future of their airmen.

According to an annual local economic impact summary produced by the 507th Air Refueling Wing financial management office, Oklahoma may feel an impact if the unit inactivates, although that impact may be lessened by increases in other units or missions.

According to figures in the fiscal 2013 estimated economic impact summary, the total annual economic impact of the 513th ACG to Oklahoma was $32,901,438. That figure included a payroll of $17,807,519, local annual expenditures at $1,108,623 and dollar value of jobs created at $13,985,296.

"The 513th ACG has played a critical role in the defense of our nation serving in nearly all major operations since our inception in 1996," Col. Robertson said.

Over the years, the unit provided air battle management for Operation Northern and Southern Watch, Operation Iraqi and Enduring Freedom, Operation Nobel Eagle, Operation New Dawn, Air Defense of the Arabian Gulf, counter-drug operations in South America and Presidential Travel Support. The unit returned from their last major deployment to Southwest Asia in November, 2012 supporting airborne command and control for Operation Enduring Freedom over Afghanistan.

Additionally, if enacted into law, Air Combat Commands active duty unit, the 552nd ACW, could lose seven E-3 "Sentry" AWACS aircraft.

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