Keesler's 403rd Wing preparing for changes
BILOXI -- The 403rd Wing at Keesler Air Force Base is preparing for numerous changes.
While it's still unclear how the recently previewed fiscal year 2015 defense budget plan will directly impact Keesler, the Air Force Reserve Command Unit's leadership is preparing for cuts stemming from last year's force management plan.
Ten of the wing's 20 aircraft were earmarked for Pope Airfield last October as part of the previously announced Force Restoral Implementation Plan, but 403rd public affairs officer Brian Lamar said that move -- while still imminent -- has been delayed so the Department of Defense can take another look at where the C-130Js might go.
Although the final destination for the aircrafts remains up in the air, the wing is preparing to lose the 815th Airlift Squadron by June 15. Lamar said those in the 345th, which is the active component of the wing, are in the process of getting their permanent change of station orders.
"The 345th, being active duty, those guys are getting orders right now to go other places in the Air Force where they'll be utilized," Lamar said.
Lamar reiterated that there are no current plans to relocate or close the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, popularly called the "Hurricane Hunters."
"A lot of people get that confused when we say we have a flying squadron leaving from Keesler, they automatically throw their arms in the air and go 'oh no, the Hurricane Hunters are leaving,'" Lamar said. "But that's not happening."
Lamar said there are about 1,700 airmen assigned to the 403rd.