MIL-OSI USA: Senator Collins Welcomes Secretary of the Air Force to MEANG 101st Air Refueling Wing

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US Senate News:

Source: United States Senator for Maine Susan Collins
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Bangor, ME – Today, U.S. Senator Susan Collins welcomed Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall to the Maine Air National Guard 101st Air Refueling Wing (ARW) located at the Bangor Air National Guard Base.  Brigadier General Diane Dunn, the Adjutant General of the Maine National Guard, and Colonel Byron Newell, the 101st ARW Commander, were also in attendance to welcome the Secretary.
During the visit, Senator Collins and Secretary Kendall had lunch with the airmen, received a mission briefing from the 101st ARW’s leadership, toured the additive manufacturing workshop, and delivered remarks at an all-hands call with approximately 350 military personnel assigned to the 101st ARW.
“Mr. Secretary, thank you for accepting my invitation to visit this terrific refueling wing which brings our State such pride and plays a key role in our national defense… Seeing the full might of the 101st on display in front of us is a sight to behold.  You truly represent the very best of Maine.  I have visited here many times over the years, and I always leave with a renewed sense of pride knowing that you, my fellow Mainers, have the watch in defense of our freedom and way of life,” said Senator Collins during the all-hands call.  “As the Secretary and the Air Force consider where to base new refueling tankers in the coming months and years, I wanted him to see the gold standard of a refueling wing in the Air Force located in such a strategic location.”
“Bringing the KC-46 to Bangor is crucial for ensuring the operational readiness and effectiveness in supporting the air bridge to Eastern Europe, Southwest Asia, and the Arctic,” said Brigadier General Dunn.  “This modern aircraft would significantly enhance our refueling capabilities and better support our military readiness.  The support from Sen. Susan Collins, along with other state and federal officials, and the City of Bangor, has been instrumental in advocating for this vital upgrade.”
“As the Air Force reoptimizes for great power competition, the Air National Guard must keep pace,” said Colonel Newell.  “As one of the nation’s gateways to the Arctic and the last American outpost in the continental United States to points east, Bangor’s location is strategically impactful to all National Defense Strategy priorities.  The 101st Air Refueling Wing welcomes Secretary Kendall’s visit as he and the Air Force consider where to field the KC-46 weapons system.”
This is the first time that the Secretary of the Air Force has made a dedicated visit to the 101st ARW, also known as the MAINEiacs.  The MAINEiacs are renowned for their commitment to supporting the requirements of U.S. and partner nation aircraft through their ten KC-135’s operated and maintained by highly proficient servicemembers.  The 101st ARW is currently one of 15 Air National Guard bases competing to be selected to have its aging KC-135 tankers replaced with KC-46As. 
As the Vice Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Collins secured nearly $9.6 million for MEANG projects in Bangor and Saco in the Fiscal Year 2024 Military Construction Appropriations bill.  In May, Senator Collins highlighted the important role the MAINEiacs play in our national defense at a hearing to review the Fiscal Year 2025 budget request for military construction.