By WILLIAM K. ALCORN
Expanding the mission of the Youngstown Air Reserve Station and making it as energy self-sufficient as possible are among U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan’s top goals for the base.
The Air Reserve Station pays $1.5 million a year for electricity.
“Maybe we can employ windmills to generate power and use the Air Reserve Station as a model for other bases around the country,” said Ryan after meeting Tuesday with Air Force Col. Fritz Linsenmeyer, commander of the base and the Air Force Reserve 910th Airlift Wing there.
“I wanted to make sure we are on the same page,” Ryan, of Niles, D-17th, said of his meeting with Linsenmeyer.
Ryan said he plans to use his new position as a member of the House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Defense to bring more money back to upgrade the Air Reserve Station and to positively impact the community’s economy.
Linsenmeyer was not available to comment.
Ryan said getting off the power grid and onto alternative-energy sources will make military bases less vulnerable to cyberterrorism.
He also envisions increasing the size and number of military branch units at the Air Reserve Station, which houses the 910th and relatively small Navy and Marine Corps reserve contingents.
“My ultimate goal is to make the Youngstown Air Reserve Station such a good role model that when BRAC comes around again, they will say no way we can close the 910th,” Ryan said.
Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) is the process used by the Department of Defense and Congress to close excess military installations. The Vienna Air Reserve Station last underwent BRAC evaluation in 2005.
Ryan said there is a lot of information he has to “get his brain around” as a member of the Subcommittee on Defense.
But he said one thing that immediately struck him are the huge expenditures of the Defense Department for supplies and the opportunities for local companies to benefit from those.
Ryan said he is in a position to make some of that happen and to encourage investment in U.S. companies in general.
He said Northeast Ohio has a second military facility, Camp Ravenna Joint Military Training Center, which he thinks has potential for expansion and to become a world-class training facility.
The Ohio National Guard’s Camp Ravenna is located on what is commonly known as the Ravenna Arsenal between Ravenna, in Portage County, and Newton Falls.