ANNAPOLIS, MD—On Friday, February 9, 2024, Delegates Kathy Szeliga and Ryan Nawrocki sent a letter to Secretary Kendall of the U.S. Air Force imploring him to keep the flying wing of the Air National Guard at Martin State Airport. In bipartisan unity, every delegate from Baltimore County signed the letter.
The letter addressed the potential removal of the flying mission of the 175th Wing of the Maryland Air National Guard. Currently located in Middle River at Warfield Air National Guard Base, the Delegates say this loss would negatively impact Baltimore County and the entire state of Maryland. The delegation received a briefing from the leadership of the 175th on January 12th, and they emphasized the critical importance of the flying mission. Speaker of the House Adrienne Jones and Delegates Ryan Nawrocki and Kathy Szeliga of District 7A honored the 175th Wing during the legislative session on January 25th in the House Chamber. That same day, Senator Jennings of District 7 honored them in the Senate. The letter from the Baltimore County House members supporting the flying mission is accompanied by a letter from the Baltimore County Senate members and a separate communication from Speaker Jones and Senate President Bill Ferguson.
Delegate Nawrocki, who hails from Middle River, said, “The Maryland Air National Guard accounts for 545 direct jobs and many more indirect jobs in Baltimore County and the state. If we lost this fighter mission it would have a devastating impact on our local economy.”
Delegate Szeliga also said, “This potential cancellation of the flying wing would hurt our national security and our economy in Baltimore County. This unit has won numerous national awards and is made up mostly of Maryland natives.”
The loss of a flight mission in Maryland could mean ending the direct careers of many highly qualified military personnel and thousands of indirect jobs. Maryland lawmakers say they are awaiting a response from Secretary Kendall.