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Costello: We're Trying to Get C-40's to Replace the C-9

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(KWMU File Photo)
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The C9 Nightingale is slated to lose all funding in President Bush's defense budget.

By AP/KWMU

Washington, DC – Illinois Congressman Jerry Costello says he and other elected Illinois officials are working on a plan to help Scott Air Force Base, by asking the Pentagon to consider leasing or buying C-40 aircraft from Boeing to replace ten C-9s at Scott Air Force Base slated for retirement.

As first reported by KWMU, President Bush wants to stop funding C-9 medical evacuation planes that move wounded soldiers all over the country. Costello says that's partly because the aging C-9s would be too costly to retrofit to meet noise pollution standards.

Costello says he, fellow southern Illinois Congressman John Shimkus, and Senators Dick Durbin and Peter Fitzgerald have urged the Pentagon to consider gradually phasing out the C-9s, instead of dropping all funding at once. Costello says he expects to hear back from the Pentagon within the coming days or weeks.

Durbin says losing the C-9 could hurt Scott Air Force Base's chances of staying open when the Pentagon next considers base closings in 2005. But Costello says he doesn't think it will make or break Scott's future.

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