May 13, 2001 |
The Naval Air Station in Willow Grove is the home, since 1963, of the 111th Fighter Wing, Pennsylvania Air National Guard, a little-known group with a long aviation history. Currently, there are more than 1,050 men and women serving in the Wing, with a large contingent from our region, said Maj. Stephanie Sullenbarger, public-affairs officer of the 111th. In its more than 75-year history, the 111th has changed aircraft 33 times and its mission 15 times in keeping with changing U.S. defense strategies.
March 6, 2003 |
The buildup toward war in Iraq hit home again this week, as 200 members of the often-deployed 111th Fighter Wing of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard were ordered to report to Southwest Asia and other overseas locations. "The folks are standing by to leave at a moment's notice," said Maj. Preston Smith, executive officer of the unit stationed at the Willow Grove Joint Reserve Base. The deployment could last a year, he said yesterday. About 140 of the pilots, aircraft support crews and maintenance personnel in the 111th Fighter Wing are to go to Southwest Asia - a general geographical term used by the military to describe the Middle East, Smith said.
May 11, 2003 |
They were due home at noon. Four hours later, the plane carrying the 111th Fighter Wing, Pennsylvania Air National Guard, was finally spotted easing down through the fog. That's when Darlene Schriner lost it. "They're here! They're really, really here!" she cried, wiping away tears and inadvertently smudging her face with ink from a Welcome Home sign she had made for her son. "This is the best Mother's Day I could have ever had. " Schriner's son, Senior Airman Ray Schriner, 20, of Wind Gap, Northampton County, had been working as a munitions specialist with the 111th Fighter Wing in Kuwait for the last three months.
July 22, 2005 |
The July 13 editorial "Cherry-picking is off base" criticizes the lawsuit filed by Gov. Rendell and Sens. Arlen Specter and Rick Santorum over the proposed deactivation of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard's 111th Fighter Wing, calling it a "misguided suit" to block the closure of Willow Grove Naval Air Station. The suit is not about the closure of the base but about the rights of the governor as commander-in-chief of the commonwealth's National Guard. The editorial misstates the nature and purpose of the lawsuit and betrays a stunning misunderstanding of the history, role, and status of the Guard in our federal system of government.
September 10, 2005 |
Although the federal base-closing commission officially voted to strip the Air National Guard unit at Willow Grove of its A-10 attack planes, its final report surprisingly suggests that the Pentagon consider not taking all 15 jets. The Base Closure and Realignment Commission also says that the base's future use may be as an airport for civilian and military planes. In its final report, sent to President Bush on Thursday, the commission reaffirmed its decision last month to remove the Air Guard's A-10s and close the existing Naval Air Station and Joint Reserve Base.
November 3, 2001 |
On a mission to "keep Saddam Hussein in pain," members of the 111th Fighter Wing of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard bade quick farewells to their families yesterday, departing for duty enforcing the no-fly zone over southern Iraq. Despite some tears, spirits were high among the 170 troops as they boarded the buses to catch a 17-hour military flight to Kuwait from McGuire Air Force Base in Burlington County. Seventy more are scheduled to depart this morning. "They're fired up, and they are all volunteers," said Maj. Gen. Jim Skiff, commander of the 4,400-member Pennsylvania Air National Guard.
August 28, 2005 |
The fight to keep the 111th Fighter Wing of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard intact and at Willow Grove is far from over. The Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission has no legal standing to give away the wing's 15 A-10 "Warthog" attack airplanes, Adrian R. King Jr., head of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, said yesterday. When a federal judge ruled Friday that the commission couldn't deactivate the fighter wing because it was a unit of the state militia answerable to the governor, the ruling voided any other decisions the commission made about the unit, he said.
November 13, 2009 |
In an abrupt reversal, Gov. Rendell yesterday abandoned plans to convert the soon-to-close Willow Grove Naval Air Station into a state-administered emergency and defense hub. Rendell wrote to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates that because the military had declined to assign a flying mission to the Pennsylvania Air National Guard's 111th Fighter Wing at the base, the state could not justify spending millions of dollars to configure the airfield as...
October 26, 2005 |
The Pentagon has appealed a federal judge's decision barring deactivation of a Pennsylvania Air National Guard unit that's a key to state efforts to save the Willow Grove air base. A spokesman for Gov. Rendell said yesterday that the state would "vigorously" fight the appeal, filed Monday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia. The 111th Fighter Wing of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard was on a nationwide list of units to be deactivated that the Pentagon submitted to the Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC)
July 16, 2005 |
Pennsylvania officials who have filed suit to save an Air National Guard unit at Willow Grove were encouraged yesterday that the base-closing review commission has raised similar legal questions. Defense Department decisions to close and move nearly 30 Air Guard units nationwide - including the 111th Fighter Wing of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard at Willow Grove - may be illegal, according to the legal counsel for the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission. A 37-page report prepared by the counsel for BRAC said relocating, disbanding or moving Air National Guard units from one state to another could be beyond the commission's authority and might be unconstitutional, CongressDaily, a Capitol Hill publication, reported yesterday.