Governor Kulongoski denies consent to U.S. Department of Defense to relocate the 142nd fighter wing from the Portland airbase.

Governor Kulongoski has taken necessary measures to ensure the 142nd Fighter Wing and the 939th Refueling Wing remains intact at the Portland Airbase. "I do not consent to the deactivation, relocation or withdrawal of the 142nd Fighter Wing," Kulongoski wrote in a letter to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. "I have a responsibility to make sure that the Oregon National Guard is capable of fulfilling its constitutional role - which our soldiers are doing with great pride, honor and professionalism."

The Governor has worked diligently to ensure that the families of our soldiers and all Oregonians are safe back here at home. His efforts to maintain the capabilities of the 142nd Fighter Wing and the 939th Refueling Wing will continue to keep the Pacific Northwest safe from potential air based threats. "Without the fighting capability of the 142nd Fighter Wing, the Pacific Northwest becomes a more attractive target to anyone looking to strike the United States from the air," said Kulongoski. "Its critical in carrying out the role of homeland air defense for the Pacific Northwest." The Governor has continually pushed for the Department of Defense to reconsider the reassignment of the 142nd and 939th units. "I believe that relocating these trained and ready forces from their current geographical location will compromise our ability to protect citizens in the Northwest," said the Governor.

While the Governor approaches the relocation of the units from a security and defense standpoint, he has also acknowledged the consequences relocation will have on Oregon's economy. "Growing Oregon's economy has been - and remains - a top priority." Job growth is strong, but relocating the two bases will set back Oregon's steady recovery. The importance to keep the 142nd and 939th units close to home is central for the Governor. "It's critically important for the citizens of Oregon to continue to see a presence of our Air National Guard."

The Governor has supported the 142nd Fighter Squadron and acknowledges with great pride that it's the premier F-15 unit in the nation. The effort and role the Oregon Air National Guard plays in National Homeland Defense and Security is important to the Governor, so as to keep the Pacific Northwest safe and strong.

Read more:

For the full text of the letter to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld

Posted on January 10, 2006
Front Page News, Veterans and Military