Illinois Air National Guard’s 183rd Wing could resume flying

F-15 Eagles of the Missouri Air National Guard at its base at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport in 2003. A nationwide realignment of military forces moved the jets to other bases, and the last of them flew out in 2009. The F-15s were built across the runways at McDonnell Douglas Corp., which became part of Boeing Co. Photo by Huy Mach, hmach@post-dispatch.com

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. –  The 183rd Wing of the Illinois Air National Guard could start flying F-16s again after spending years repairing them if the state’s two U.S. senators have their way.

The State Journal Record reports that U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth and Sen. Dick Durbin have proposed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would allow the U.S. Air Force to ransfer active aircraft to the Guard unit in Springfield.

The 183rd Wing, located at the Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport, flew F-16s until the mid-2000s when the unit became a repair team and an Air Operations Group.

Durbin, of Springfield, says he wants to ensure the wing remains a priority for the Department of Defense.

An Illinois National Guard spokesman says a flying mission would bring more money into the local economy.

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