US Army Attacks National Guard over Apache Helicopters
April 11, 2014
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com & Douglas Ernst / The Washington Times
The National Guard is loudly complaining about orders to hand over its fleet of AH-64 Apache attack helicopters to the Army, saying the move is dramatically impacting readiness. The plan, which the Army says will save $12 billion through 2017, involves replacing the Army's OH-58 Kiowas with the National Guard's Apaches. The Guard is to be given UH-60 Black Hawks to replace them.
National Guard Slams Pentagon's Decision to Take Their Apache Helicopters
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
(April 10, 2014) -- The National Guard is loudly complaining today about orders to hand over its fleet of AH-64 Apache attack helicopters to the Army, saying the move is dramatically impacting readiness.
The plan, which the Army says will save $12 billion through 2017, involves replacing the Army's OH-58 Kiowas with the National Guard's Apaches. The Guard is to be given UH-60 Black Hawks to replace them.
National Guard Chief Gen. Frank Grass complained that the switch is going to require him to retrain pilots and alter the facilities that are housing the Apaches.
The Pentagon has argued that the National Guard doesn't use the Apaches in the first place, and the Black Hawks are actually meant for search and rescue missions, so they'd be of some conceivable use. Gen. Grass insists the Apaches are needed to be a "combat reserve."
At the behest of the Guard's leadership, there is a bill going through the House aiming to block the transfer of the Apaches and creating a commission to study any other proposed changes to the Guard's arsenal.
National Guard Loses War with Army over Apache Helicopters
Douglas Ernst / The Washington Times
(April 9, 2014) -- The National Guard is following a direct order -- but it's not happy with it.
All of the Guard's AH-64 Apache helicopters are scheduled to go to the active Army, and there's nothing its top brass can do about it.
"None of us like what we're having to do," National Guard Chief Gen. Frank Grass told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, the military website Defense One reported. "My big concern right now is figuring out how I'm going to move, and how many states I'm going to have an impact on, and what's the cost of facilities and to retrain pilots. I've got to tackle that because the decision's been made."
Air Force Maj. Shannon Thomas, a spokeswoman for the Guard, reiterated the general's position, the Army Times reported.
"These are very difficult decisions and there will be more difficult ones yet to come," she said. "His focus now is to determine the impacts and how best to implement the decision."
Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno told members of Congress on Tuesday that the move will save $12 billion through fiscal year 2017, Defense One reported.
When the logistics are worked out, the Army's fleet of OH-58 Kiowa helicopters will be divested, its newly acquired Apaches will fill its reconnaissance and scouting needs, and the National Guard will be given UH-60 Black Hawks.
Advocates of the Army's decision say that the Black Hawks actually benefit the Guard because they are an incredible asset for disaster relief efforts.
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