Rapid Response Critical in Texas Emergencies
Texas has developed one of the most effective and efficient emergency response teams in the nation, and recently, the team was put to the test again when a severe storm system, hailing 17 tornados, ripped through North Texas and damaged more than 650 homes.
Ironically, it all took place when emergency management officials and state leaders were in the midst of the 2012 Texas Emergency Management Conference in San Antonio to focus on how to improve the state's disaster response and to reflect on what's worked well in the past. The Texas State Operations Center immediately activated remotely, and thanks to the swift response by local officials, no lives were lost.
In Texas, we've had our fair share of disasters, and that's not something that's going to change anytime soon. That's why we must always stand ready to respond. However, a major component of our state's disaster recovery capability is being threatened.
If the U.S. Air Force has its way, eight C-130 aircraft, currently based with the 136th Airlift Wing in Fort Worth, will be moved across the country to Montana. These critical air assets can be deployed across our state or across the Gulf Coast with a simple phone call, and be in action within hours of a storm as part of the Texas Air National Guard.
Moving the C-130s to Montana would cost taxpayers nearly $75 million, and leave Americans without the aid of these critical disaster recovery assets for up to two years while a new facility is built and new personnel are trained.
Gov. Rick Perry, along with members of the Texas Congressional Delegation and Texas Legislature continue urging the Department of Defense to overturn this egregious decision by the U.S. Air Force.