Sen. Vance visits Springfield base, praises mission and economic impact

Credit: Jessica Orozco

Credit: Jessica Orozco

Republican U.S. Sen. JD Vance said the work done at the Ohio Air National Guard 178th Wing base at the Springfield-Beckley Airport is important to maintaining national security and carrying out intelligence missions during a visit there Friday.

The Ohio senator said that he learned about the base’s mission — to support federal and state missions through attacks, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance while being involved in the local community — and the impact that it has on safety, the economy and more.

“I learned a lot today about the role that these guys have in America’s national security sand assessing national intelligence, and really keeping us safe all over the world, so I’m proud to have them here,” Vance said. “I’m proud of what they do, and most of all I’m just grateful for them for the mission they do.”

Vance is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who grew up in Middletown. He began his term in January.

Vance said while budgets tighten, national defense should always be well funded. He said the Springfield base can carry out certain intelligence missions that cannot be done elsewhere.

The technology the 178th uses will help the U.S. in beating China in the next decade, Vance said.

Vance said one of his focuses is ensuring the national spending is voted on case-by-case, rather than multiple spending requests being rolled into one. He said the combination prevents a debate on each issue and “gives political cover” to “a lot of unpopular ideas.”

“The president sent over supplemental budget requests about $104 billion, which is a lot of money; this is not chump change even for the United States of America,” Vance said. “That $104 billion includes four separate requests of four very different priorities. You have Israel, you have Taiwan, Ukraine and you have the American southern borders — four different crises at four different parts of the world, and I think that it would actually benefit the American people ... to have separate debates on each one of those budgets.”

Adjacent to the Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport terminal is the new National Advanced Air Mobility Center of Excellence, which officially opened last month.

The center, also called “NAAMCE,” will house administrative, laboratory, meeting, and collaboration space, with 25,000 square feet of aircraft hangar space, for the Air Force and private industry. It will house military and civilian research regarding electrical vertical takeoff and landing, or eVTOL, vehicles and other air mobility projects.

Vance said this, along with having so many people on the base, contributes to “a lot of economic activity in the area.” He said he doesn’t believe there is any threat for the base or NAAMCE and one of his roles as senator is to ensure that “we have good facilities and good national security right here in southwestern Ohio.”

“I think that we’re at a place where the national leadership recognizes this is an important facility, and it’s important to have it here,” Vance said. “But you’ve got to be forward-thinking about these things, and we want to make sure that we don’t lose the capabilities but also we don’t lose the economic impact — not next year because that’s not a risk — but 10 years, 20 years from now.”

Master Sgt. Shane Hughes, public affairs superintendent at the base, said base personnel welcomed Vance’s visit. The base is non-partisan and Vance visited by himself due to schedule limitations.

“We’re happy to have Sen. Vance visit today to learn more about our mission and how it enhances global influence and deterrence,” Hughes said.

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