Connecticut lawmakers are panicking over reports the Air Force’s entire combat search-and-rescue mission — carried out by aging Sikorsky HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters — could disappear or be scaled back under Pentagon plan to handle sequestration –- or across the board budget cuts –- in the next federal fiscal year.

Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn. and  Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3rd District, vowed to vigorously lobby the Pentagon to scrap the plan, which would prevent Sikorsky from  providing 100 new helicopters to replace the aging fleet.

“Cutting the Connecticut-made combat rescue helicopters should be a non-starter, and I am fighting this shortsighted, misguided decision,” Blumenthal said in a statement. “Rescuing downed warfighters is a core mission –- a non-debatable mission -– that is now dependent on 30-year-old helicopters that should be replaced as soon as possible.”

Blumenthal and Murphy also wrote the head of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s panel on defense, Sen. Dick Durbiin, D-Ill., requesting the full funding about $333.5 million, for the Air Force’s search-and-rescue program this year. The Senate has proposed a reduction in the funding of the program.

DeLauro wrote key members of the House Appropriations Committee also asking for full funding for the program.

Ana has written about politics and policy in Washington, D.C.. for Gannett, Thompson Reuters and UPI. She was a special correspondent for the Miami Herald, and a regular contributor to The New York TImes, Advertising Age and several other publications. She has also worked in broadcast journalism, for CNN and several local NPR stations. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Journalism.

Leave a comment