House Funding Expected to Help 188th

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The U.S. House Appropriations Committee approved a funding plan this month to help Air National Guard units such as the 188th Fighter Wing as they transition to their new missions, according to Rep. Steve Womack’s office.

The defense appropriations bill cleared the House panel on June 12 with $50 million for the 2014 fiscal year for six bases in transition, officials said. The bill has to clear the full House and Senate before being sent to President Obama for his signature.

Womack, a Republican from Rogers, serves on the Appropriations Committee.

The Air Force has said it plans to keep the 188th in the River Valley, but the base will begin housing drones in the next few years instead of A-10 ground support fighters.

Members of the unit will have to be retrained, and the unit will continue operating the A-10 until the summer of 2014, when the conversion to drones will become the focus, officials said.