Air Guard mission changes won’t impact MAFB unit

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE – A North Dakota Air National Guard security forces unit at Minot Air Force Base will not be impacted by any changes to the future missions of the 119th Wing in Fargo, said Capt. Dan Murphy, North Dakota National Guard public information officer in Bismarck.

The 219th Security Forces Squadron members, led by Lt. Col. Tad Schauer, work alongside 91st Missile Wing security forces to provide security in the Minot missile complex. Activated in October 2008, the 219th is the only N.D. Air National Guard unit that is located off the Fargo Air National Guard base.

The 219th at Minot Air Force Base has about 140 members about 60 full time and 80 part time, according to Guard officials.

Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., said earlier this week that they were disappointed in the Air Force’s decision last week not to base the C-27J Spartan cargo aircraft at the Air National Guard base in Fargo. The Air Force does not plan to obtain any new C-27J aircraft to base at Air Force or Air Guard installations.

Without the basing of the cargo plane at the Fargo base, the 119th will not have a manned flying wing.

The Fargo base has a C-21 Learjet mission but that will end Sept. 30.

The C-21 Learjet mission was a temporary flying mission between the time the base’s F-16 fighters jets left several years ago and until the base would get the cargo planes, said Murphy.

The Fargo base though, is scheduled to get an intelligence targeting group, he said.

The N.D. Air National Guard has a total of about 1,100 members, Murphy said. He said the number of personnel will remain the same or will grow slightly, but it will not be reduced.

However, Air National Guard units in other states are facing reductions.

Grand Forks AFB is one of four active-duty base finalists for the new KC-46A tanker. The Department of Defense is to announce basing for that mission May 1. If Grand Forks AFB is selected, the N.D. Air National Guard would support that mission.