Niagara Falls Air Base Gets Support From Senator

March 26, 2011 Updated Mar 26, 2011 at 7:18 PM EDT

By Kendra Eaglin

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March 26, 2011 Updated Mar 26, 2011 at 7:18 PM EDT

WKBW
Niagara Falls, NY
The U.S. can now add Libya to the list of hot spots overseas where the American military is needed to try and keep the peace. The demand for U.S. troops to have access to top of the line training is a matter of life and death.

"The fact that we still have engagement in Iraq, Afghanistan, this limited engagement in Libya...we need to make sure our men and women have all the tools they need to do their jobs," said U.S. Senator, Kirsten Gillibrand.

Senator Gillibrand got a first hand look at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve station Friday, where thousands of servicemen and women from all over the country come for training.

But, the base has been under threat of closure twice before and Senator Gillibrand is working hard to make sure federal lawmakers continue to funnel money to the site for its expansion plans.

"We want to show that we can have efficiencies of scale, efficiencies in operation, and be the state of the art facility that it is, so it will not be one that the DOD would choose for base realignment," said Gillibrand.

The air force plans to build a new flight simulator at the base and construct a $6 million indoor weapons training center. Officials also have plans to add nearly 100 rooms to the base lodge, where active duty, reserve, guard and even veterans are constantly filtering through.

At any given time western New Yorkers from the base are on duty at various trouble stops around the globe, far from friends and family.

"The facilities also have great support for the families which is really important because we ask so much of our troops but we also ask so much of our military family," commented Gillibrand.

Right now there is no indication that the air base will appear on the next military closing list which is released approximately every five years. Senator Gillibrand is working with the Senate Armed Services Committiee to continue to push the importance of this military facility located right along an important international border.