by Susan Mikula Campbell
Drones are likely to be the answer for a new mission for the 107th Airlift Wing at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station.
A House-Senate conference committee on Tuesday agreed on a defense authorization bill to send on for a vote by both houses of Congress that includes an RPA (remotely piloted aircraft) mission here.
John Cooper, vice chairman of the Niagara Military Affairs Council, said details aren't available yet.
"The most exciting part about this is that it appears the 107th is preserved by this conference agreement that came out last night," he said Wednesday.
Since both the House and Senate were involved in the agreement, he thinks chances are good it will be approved.
"This moves us forward with an enduring mission. It's a growing mission within the Air Force," he said.
NIMAC, which in the past has joined the local Congressional delegation to successfully lobby to keep NFARS open, joined the fight to get a new mission for the 107th, when it appeared that the unit would be disbanded earlier this year. NFARS is home to both the 914th Airlift Wing of the U.S. Air Force Reserve and the 107th Airlift Wing of the New York Air National Guard. The two units have been concentrating on a joint mission of operating C-130 aircraft. Under cuts considered earlier this year, the base was to lose the C-130s assigned to the 107th, while the 914th would continue to fly them.
Cooper said NIMAC wants to pursue more missions for the base to strengthen its presence here, including getting additional C-130s.
"To go from where (we) were in February, where (we) had nothing (no mission, no planes for the 107th), is a great accomplishment by everyone involved," he said.