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Defense bill addresses Ohio Air Guard bases

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The final version of a federal defense-spending bill will preserve a fleet of aircraft at an Air National Guard base in Mansfield, but does nothing to preserve the full fleet of 18 KC-135 tankers at a Columbus base.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that the National Defense Authorization Act calls for the U.S. Air Force to retain cargo aircraft in its inventory to fulfill the airlift mission performed by units such as the 179th Airlift Wing in Mansfield.

But House and Senate negotiators stripped language from the final version that would freeze any proposed reduction in KC-135 aircraft at Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base in Columbus. That means the Air Force has the option of reducing the fleet there.

The final bill could be voted on this week.

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