St. Joseph Community Leaders Talk 139th Airlift Wing, Infrastructure Investment with McCaskill

WASHINGTON – The St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce and the Community Alliance met this week with U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill to discuss the 139th Airlift Wing of the Missouri National Guard, as well as the importance of infrastructure funding for levies, and continued economic development for agriculture in the region.

Click HERE for more pictures from the meeting.

“The 139th Airlift Wing is vital to the St. Joe community, and to our country’s national security, and it’s got no better friend than the Community Alliance.” said McCaskill, a senior member of the Armed Services Committee. “I’m always grateful for the chance to sit down with these folks and figure out how we can partner to grow the base and the community by boosting local infrastructure and creating good-paying jobs.”

McCaskill is a longtime advocate for the Missouri National Guard’s 139th Airlift Wing, which she has called the “‘top gun’ of airlift.” Last summer, as part of her Security & Defense Tour, McCaskill visited the 139th where she received a classified briefing from base leaders and heard directly from intelligence analysts examining the actions of America’s adversaries.

Following the visit, McCaskill raised budget uncertainty concerns she heard on her tour with top Pentagon officials, discussing the uniquely important role of the base’s Advanced Airlift and Tactics Training Center and Weapons Instructor Course in training fliers from the National Guard and Active Duty, as well as visiting pilots from international partner countries—and why that means it’s critical these courses get long-term funding for their long-term mission. Following that request, the Air Force agreed to develop a funding strategy to help secure budget certainty for the 139th, and the Director of Air National Guard has now developed a plan to be implemented in the next budget cycle.

In 2015, McCaskill teamed up with fellow Missouri Senator Roy Blunt at the Air National Guard Base for a roundtable discussion with 30 community leaders and leadership from the 139th Airlift Wing to talk about the C-130, the role of Missouri's military bases in national defense and the impact of possible Pentagon budget cuts. McCaskill has also urged the Air Force to bring additional C-130 aircraft to Rosecrans, touting the base's personnel, expertise, and exceptional training facilities.

And McCaskill has been a longtime supporter of investing in American infrastructure. She has led efforts to claw back previously earmarked funds to ensure the money is spent on critical infrastructure needs instead of politicians’ pet projects. Her efforts allowed the Missouri Department of Transportation to direct $72.6 million of previously unspent funds across Missouri to support local needs. These funds were originally earmarked by Congress for use 10 or more years ago, but because they were duplicates, or the project was scrapped, among other reasons—the funds were never used.

The Community Alliance of St. Joseph’s mission is to promote a shared vision for their community and to improve the local quality of life. The St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce was voted Missouri’s “Chamber of the Year” in 2015.

Visit to learn more about McCaskill’s work to expand job and business opportunities.