Effort to Keep Apache Helicopters in Johnstown Ongoing

AH-64 Apache

An attempt to keep some AH-64 Apache attack helicopters with the Pennsylvania Army National Guard's 1-104th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion is still ongoing, according to U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus, R-Sewickley.

On Oct. 1, Rothfus voted for H.R. 1735, the joint compromise Fiscal Year 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, that includes a provision prohibiting further Apache transfers out of the National Guard beyond those previously announced by the Army, at least until Congress can review recommendations from the National Commission on the Future of the Army, concerning the roles and structure of the Army.

The 12th district's congressman previously introduced the Preserving National Guard Combat Readiness Act of 2015 that would temporarily prevent removing Apaches from the 1-104th, including ones at John Murtha Johnstown -- Cambria County Airport, and giving them to the Army's active-duty component.

"We're continuing to press," Rothfus said during a visit to Cambria County on Monday. "I testified before the national commission about two weeks ago, again emphasizing the need to maintain the depth and readiness that we have in the Guard, so we continue to press through both the National Defense Authorization Act and through the appropriations process to try to keep the helicopters here."

Rothfus feels removing the Apaches would hurt the battalion by making it less combat-ready. Members of the 1-104th provided aerial support in Afghanistan.

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