914th transitions to refueling mission

TOWN OF NIAGARA (WIVB) – The Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station’s 914th Airlift Wing is settling in to its new mission – refueling.

State and local officials and community leaders were on the base Thursday to celebrate the transition.

“We were in jeopardy of losing this base. We really truly were,” said Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who was involved in the effort to keep the base viable and operational.

“A few years ago there were a lot of clouds that affected the future of this area. We were at risk of losing over 3,000 jobs. The economic hit to this area could be over a $140 million,” she added.

But that was then.

Starting now, the 914th has a new mission involving KC-135 tankers.

The first of eight arrived Wednesday.

“We’ll be getting one per month through about September. I’m hoping by the middle of September of this year we’ll have a full complement of eight aircraft,” said Col. Brian Bowman, commander of the 914th Airlift Wing.

Bowman says the KC-135 tankers will be used for refueling real world combat missions.

“I call it aerial gymnastics because it’s an aerial ballet, really,” Bowman added.

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