Nevada touts Reno as best place for new Air Force squadron

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RENO, Nev. (AP) - Gov. Steve Sisolak and Nevada's entire congressional delegation are trying to persuade the U.S. Air Force to pick Reno to serve as the base for a new regional air squadron to respond to emergencies and disasters.

Sisolak and the others sent a letter to Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett Friday touting the Nevada Air National Guard Base in Reno as the best location for the planned expansion of the Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron.

They it's uniquely suited to house the squadron partly because of it's proximity to the West Coast and it's past experience responding to natural disasters and medical emergencies.

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Text of the letter:

Dear Secretary Barrett,

As the Air Force continues with its strategic basing process to establish a new Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron (AES) within the Air National Guard (ANG), we respectfully request your careful consideration of the 152nd Airlift Wing (AW) at the Nevada Air National Guard Base in Reno, Nevada, as the premier location for AES expansion. There are only four ANG AES units west of the continental divide. Placing the 10th ANG AES unit in Reno helps mitigate the disproportionate allocation of AES units in the eastern US.

The 152nd AW is located in the center of the Pacific Time Zone within a 2.5 hour flight of the west coast and the Rocky Mountains. In 2017, the 152nd AW responded to hurricane relief efforts in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico and could have easily deployed Aeromedical Evacuation care to these areas. The 152nd AW specializes in nationwide response to natural disasters as one of four airlift wings in the nation working wildland firefighting suppression efforts with the U.S. Forest Service's Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS). In 2018, the 152nd AW responded to largescale wildland fires in less than 48-hour notice in Colorado and California. This focus and culture mobilizing the unit's C-130 aircraft for firefighting ideally fits the AES mission set. The 152nd AW is the only ANG MAFFS unit without an AES.

The 152nd Medical Group maintains two Training Affiliation Agreements (TAA) with Renown Regional Medical Center (high volume Level 2 Trauma Center) and St. Mary's Regional Medical Center, both in Reno. TAA's with the University Medical Center in Las Vegas and Naval Air Station Fallon are in development. These training agreements allow the unit's medical personnel to engage in real-world, hands-on sustainment training in a functioning medical facility at zero cost to the Nevada ANG. Nevada includes a robust, growing medical community for recruitment. The University of Nevada, Reno's School of Medicine celebrated its 50th anniversary last month and boasts 1,800 M.D. graduates. Las Vegas is rapidly growing with the new 214-acre, citywide Las Vegas Medical District.

The Nevada ANG Base has an excellent facility to house an AES. Building 76 at the base in Reno, a 20,000 square foot building - houses the Nevada ANG's Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Enhanced Response Force Package (CERFP). The CERFP takes up only a portion of this building, which is located near the unit's Medical Group and within 500 feet of the flight line.

The combination of the C-130 airframe, ideal geographic location, extensive Domestic Operations history, strong recruiting base, innovative and sustainable training initiatives and facilities ensure the success of an AES for Nevada, the ANG and the U.S. Air Force.

Thank you for your distinguished service to our nation. Please contact us if you have any questions.