Air National Guard Takes Flight

By: Rachel Alig Email
By: Rachel Alig Email

State leaders, as well as members of Meridian's 186th Air Refueling Wing, experienced a preview flight on a C27J Wednesday.

The wing will be getting two of the planes in the first quarter of 2012 and then two more in the second quarter of the year.

According to the Adjutant General of Mississippi, Maj. Gen. William Freeman, the wing could see an additional two.

"Meridian is also in the running for the FTU (Flight Training Unit). So if we got the FTU, that means we would get two more additional aircraft," said Freeman. "So we are in the hunt for that. We are competing with Ohio, and we are doing everything we can to make sure that is a reality in the near future."

And part of that effort is coming from Cong. Gregg Harper. He, too, is fighting for the flying training program.

"We're working extremely hard to keep Meridian and Key Field, the 186th, in the hunt for the school house," said Harper.

The C27J aircraft will be available for national and international disaster response. It will also be used for homeland security needs. Harper and Freeman say they believe it will help with the 186th's mission.

The C-27J is a multifunctional aircraft. General Freeman describes a few of its purposes.

"It will be used for cargo. It will haul 46 packs. You can actually jump out, special forces can," said Freeman.

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