103rd Airlift Wing marks start of hangar renovation

  • Published
  • By Maj. Wayne B. Ferris
  • Commander, 103rd Maintenance Squadron
The 103rd Airlift Wing and its maintenance group celebrated another construction milestone that realigns its facilities for mission sets that are perfectly suited for tomorrow's challenges and threats. With golden sledge hammers, hardhats and personal protection equipment, walls were punched through by senior leaders Dec. 1, 2010, commemorating the start of an initial $4 million hangar reconstruction project.

The intent of this groundbreaking ceremony provides, not only a symbolic start of Connecticut's C-27 maintenance capabilities and new mission roles, but concrete evidence of the unit's commitment to transformation.

"Not too far back in our distant past, a $1.5 million construction project in the Future Years Defense Plan was considered a triumph. Today, we are executing over $25 million with another $20 million anticipated over the next three years," said Maj. Gen. Thaddeus J. Martin, the Adjutant General for the state of Connecticut and the commander of the Connecticut National Guard.

The plan's execution includes a 20,400 square foot complete renovation of the west side of the base's main hangar. The hangar's rehab is the first part of a state-of-the-art maintenance facility to house and repair the new and solely operated Air National Guard C-27J Spartan aircraft.

Commander of the 103rd Airlift Wing, Col. Frank Detorie, also present for the momentous event, stated "this is yet another great day for the 103rd," and continued to explain that with this current construction project, "the Connecticut Air National Guard continues to progress in fulfilling its responsibility of providing both state and federal missions with the finest training, equipment, facilities and aircraft in the nation."

The C-27 is a tactical cargo aircraft authorized specifically for the Air National Guard that provides transport of time-sensitive, mission-critical cargo and personnel to forward operating locations. The aircraft is also capable of many state and federal missions from medical evacuations, deploying paratroopers and combat ground troops, to performing firefighting and search and rescue missions, as well as disaster relief operations.

"Just over a month ago, we all witnessed and, in some cases, operated a real C-27 aircraft. Today, we hit the first significant milestone in the transition of our infrastructure to being able to handle a 'big aircraft' mission," said Martin.

General Martin continued to explain that "this construction project comes as a result of the hard work of many present today. Civil engineering, maintenance and mission support group personnel, as well as your wing leadership, all pulled together allowing Team Bradley to perform in a remarkable fashion."

Martin also thanked Lt. Gen. "Bud" Wyatt, director of the Air National Guard, for assisting the state in securing the $4 million necessary to begin Phase I.

"We are now entering tougher times. The next $20 million is assured, but the timing is not. We must work with NGB and our congressional delegation now more than ever. We must remain engaged and continue to adapt to our nation's needs," said Martin.