Durbin, Shock, Davis, Simon Celebrate Opening of Renovated 183rd Fighter Wing

[SPRINGFIELD] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), U.S. Representatives Aaron Schock (R-IL-18) and Rodney Davis (R-IL-13) and Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon today attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newly renovated 183rd Fighter Wing.  Durbin is the chair of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, which oversees discretionary spending for our nation’s military, including bases.


“From defense exercises in South Korea to disaster response needs at home, the 183rd Fighter Wing has proven itself a valuable asset over and over again,” Durbin said.  “The renovations which we are unveiling today will allow for even better training and greater ability to continue that track record of success.  I sing the 183rd’s praises in Washington every chance I get and was glad when Air Force leaders toured the 183rd at my request last year.  This new space puts the 183rd in an excellent position to play a dynamic part in the Air Force’s operations, including cyber missions, for many years to come.”


“The 183rd Air Fighter Wing is a world class military asset for the United States, and it deserves a first class operational facility to serve it,” Schock said.  “Regrettably, recent cuts to our nation’s defenses have threatened numerous strategic air national guard units. Yet the contribution this unit makes to American military strength and the benefit it supplies to the Illinois economy cannot be understated. The final construction and renovation of this facility should signal to our region that the 183rd is here for many years to come.”


“I’m honored to be able to attend today’s ceremony to recognize that these important upgrades will increase our readiness, promote security on base and hone communications infrastructure at the 183rd Fighter Wing facilities,” Davis said. “The 183rd Fighter Wing prides itself on being a ready, reliable, relevant, and respected force- and these investments will help these dedicated men and women continue to deliver and serve their country and assist the Air National Guard with their critical missions.”


“Having the 183rd Fighter Wing active in Springfield is good for the area’s economy, and it’s good for our state,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Simon. “These new facilities will help us work to bring new missions to the 183rd along with more jobs to the community, and I appreciate Senator Durbin’s strong advocacy for the 183rd Fighter Wing and all of Illinois’ military installments.”


The 183rd recently completed a $24 million federally-funded renovation to upgrade its facilities and technology infrastructure.  That work included the upgrading of two high-tech control centers, the consolidation of the Security Forces Squadron into a centralized, state-of-the-art control center, and a complete redesign of the 183rd’s Communications building, including a significant increase in fiber-optic infrastructure.


Durbin’s Defense Appropriations Subcommittee oversees funding for the military and intelligence community, the nation’s national security requirements and the daily needs of over two million active duty and reserve service members.  The Subcommittee also oversees funding for Overseas Contingency Operations, including the war in Afghanistan and other military operations worldwide.  All told, the Subcommittee controls more than half of the nation’s annual discretionary budget.


Lt. Governor Simon chairs the state’s Interagency Military Base Support and Economic Development Committee and helps coordinate the state’s activities and communications relating to current and former military bases in Illinois. The committee launched a statewide economic impact study to help retain military jobs and initiated legislation to ease the transitions of military students moving in and out of Illinois schools. House Bill 3939, sponsored by Rep. Eddie Lee Jackson (D-East St. Louis) and Sen. Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake), passed the Illinois House unanimously and awaits Senate action.