10 C-130js set to leave Keesler AFB; Hurricane Hunters will stay

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The Air Force is moving forward with a plan to transfer 10 C-130j aircraft from Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi to Pope Field near Fayetteville, North Carolina.

The planes are part of the 403rd Reserve Wing, and are being used primarily for tactical airlift missions locally and overseas. The decision essentially closes the 815th Airlift Squadron

Officials said no specific decisions have been made about personnel at this time, but full time employees will be leaving South Mississippi.

"The loss of personnel and aircraft will be felt at Keesler and in our community," said Col. Craig LaFave, Commander of the 403rd Reserve Wing. "As the Air Force begins executing this transfer, we will to strive to take care of our personnel and their families during this difficult time."

The Air Force plan calls for relocating the planes in fiscal year 2014, which starts in October 2013. The transfer is part of an overall plan to trim $480 billion in defense spending.

The 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, also known as the Hurricane Hunters, will remain at Keesler and will not lose any aircraft or personnel.

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