BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Since 2012, there have been plans to close the 815th airlift squadron and move the C-130Js to another base. More recently plans called for moving the aircraft to North Carolina.
But now these planes are here to stay thanks to the help of several people including lawmakers and retired Brigadier General and former Commander of the 403rd Wing Richard Moss.
"General Clark Griffith talked to me and said, 'Hey you know the C-130. You know what it costs. Could you work up some talking points on it?' So I did. And also Congressman Palazzo and Senator Wicker."
"It's just really good to keep them here and have them working in our local area," said Biloxi CAO David Nichols.
Moving the C-130Js was all part of a cost cutting measure, but Moss says the Air Force would save more money keeping the planes on the coast.
"The economic impact would be $20 million a year. We had also spent $58 million building facilities specifically to fit those 10 C-130Js stretch models. And we also have an excellent training environment here and if they took us away from here that would also effect Stennis because we do a lot of work up there. And also Camp Shelby because we do airdrop training at Camp Shelby. So it would hurt the entire coast," said Moss.
If the Air Force went through with a plan to move the planes, Moss says he feared it would have a domino effect.
"Well my main concern was that if the ten C-130Js were to move then it would be possible to move the Hurricane Hunters to some other location. Without a flying mission, Keesler Air Force Base would be very susceptible if we have future base closings."
The Flying Jennies are part of the 403rd Wing's 815th Airlift Squadron at Keesler. Moss says more than 360 jobs would have left due if the planes were moved. The Flying Jennies are part of the 403rd Wing's 815th Airlift Squadron at Keesler. Moss says more than 360 jobs would have left due to moving the planes.