AP NEWS

Delegation asks that helicopters go to National Guard unit

December 9, 2017

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico’s congressional delegation is urging the Air Force to transfer some older combat search-and-rescue helicopters to the state National Guard when new models enter service with an active-duty unit at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque.

Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and Reps. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Steve Pearce and Ben Ray Lujan advocate shifting the HH-60G helicopters to the 150th Special Operations Wing, a Kirtland-based Guard unit that currently doesn’t have its own aircraft to operate.

The lawmakers also say the acquisition of new HH-60W helicopters by the active-duty 58th Special Operations Wing also operating other aircraft would pose challenges of having enough flight instructors hangar and classroom space.

The delegation made their pitch in a letter to Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, a former New Mexico congresswoman.