You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Nearly 50 jobs cut at Springfield base

Positions are in national intelligence missions that were thought to be safe.


Close to 50 full-time jobs will be cut later this year at the Springfield Air National Guard Base in a complete surprise to the base commander.

Statewide the Ohio Air National Guard stands to lose at least 104 jobs.

The elimination of 47 intelligence and reconnaissance positions within the 178th Fighter Wing — the Springfield base’s largest unit — is unrelated to sequestration, stemming rather from the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal-year 2013 that President Obama signed on Jan. 2.

“We were unaware these were going to happen,” Col. Gregory Schnulo, commander of the 178th, said Wednesday. “Nobody knew it was coming.”

The jobs, which could be cut by October, were previously thought to be safe in the annual defense budget. Base commanders like Schnulo were informed only in recent days of cuts and changes.

“I’m still looking for clarity,” he said.

He doesn’t yet know who among the wing’s 365 full-time employees will be effected. The 178th Fighter Wing’s 882 total guardsmen are largely responsible for the base’s $99.4 million annual economic impact.

About 300 of them analyze classified satellite imagery, among other duties, for the National Air and Space Intelligence Center, and another 200 are involved in remotely piloting Predator drones.

The drone mission has been operating at the local base since February 2012, with crews flying overseas combat air patrols around the clock from Springfield.

The 300 guardsmen in the NASIC-aligned mission have been working out of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base until facilities in Springfield are upgraded to the required security standards. A 5,000-square-foot section of a base supply warehouse is undergoing a $750,000 renovation to bring some initial intelligence work here this spring.

The cuts likely will hit both of the wing’s missions.

Before the job cuts were seemingly taken off the table last year, Schnulo said 38 positions were eyed to go from the intelligence mission and nine were targeted in the Predator reconnaissance mission.

“Originally, we did believe they were off the table,” said James Sims, spokesman for the Ohio National Guard.

“The decision has been made,” he added, “and we’re going to have to move forward.”

For whatever reason, potential job losses in Springfield weren’t as actively discussed amongst lawmakers as changes to the Ohio Air National Guard in Mansfield and Columbus.

The office of U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, whose district now includes all of Clark County, didn’t respond Wednesday to requests for comment on the local cuts.

Even without sequestration — the automatic, across-the-board cuts that kicked in March 1 because Congress and the president couldn’t reach a budget deal — the Pentagon has to accommodate $487 billion in spending cuts within the next decade.

With the Air Force wanting to rid itself of the C-27J Spartan, Mansfield’s 179th Airlift Wing was on a path to closure, which would have eliminated 800 jobs.

But it now appears likely that the wing, located at Mansfield-Lahm Regional Airport, will revert this summer to flying the venerable C-130 Hercules, according to Sims. Mansfield has only been flying the C-27J since 2010. It’s unclear how the change in mission could affect jobs in Mansfield.

The 121st Air Refueling Wing at Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base in Columbus will lose six of its 18 aging KC-135 tankers, as previously expected. The Guard is unsure at this point how many jobs will be affected, but Sims believes 57 full-time positions could be eliminated in Columbus.

However, it was announced in January that Rickenbacker also is one of five Air National Guard bases in the running nationally to receive the new KC-46 tanker in fiscal-year 2018.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Community News

Woman attacked with hot sauce bottle in karaoke fight, police say
Woman attacked with hot sauce bottle in karaoke fight, police say

A woman has been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after attacking another woman with a hot sauce bottle following a karaoke performance in Austin, Texas, according to a report by KEYE. The news station, citing an affidavit, reports that Austin police responded to a call Thursday at La Catedral del Marisco on Oltorf Street...
After 6-year-old shoots boy, 8, police plead with parents to lock up guns
After 6-year-old shoots boy, 8, police plead with parents to lock up guns

An Ohio police department hopes that an accidental shooting of an 8-year-old boy will serve as a warning to other parents about safe gun storage. Last week, an 8-year-old and a 6-year-old found a loaded gun in the basement of a Mount Vernon home and started playing with it, according to Columbus police and Raw Story. That gun went off...
New Carlisle restaurant damaged by tornado reopening today
New Carlisle restaurant damaged by tornado reopening today

The Mel-O-Dee Restaurant that was damaged by a May tornado is reopening today. The restaurant at 2350 S. Dayton-Lakeview Road in Park Layne sustained about $100,000 in damage when a confirmed EF1 tornado touched down May 24. Mel-O-Dee will officially reopen at 11 a.m. today, according to a post to the restaurant’s Facebook page. The tornado ripped...
Is Seattle's minimum wage hike costing jobs? Here's what 2 studies say
Is Seattle's minimum wage hike costing jobs? Here's what 2 studies say

Two studies show there is no denying that most $15 minimum wage workers in Seattle are making more money, but a new University of Washington report shows more costs than benefits. Another study from the University of California Berkeley says the law has boosted pay for restaurant workers without losing jobs, but it did not examine other industries...
Another juror in Cosby case opens up about deliberations
Another juror in Cosby case opens up about deliberations

Another juror in the Bill Cosby sexual-assault case is talking about the deliberations. "I flip-flopped back and forth plenty of times," said Robert Dugan, the first non-alternate juror to show his face. Dugan said he believed Cosby was guilty after Cosby's 2005 deposition was read in court. He said that he couldn't get past the fact that...
More Stories