Senate derails Army bid to take Guard helicopters

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Associated Press

Posted on July 16, 2014 at 1:00 AM

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (AP) — The Army is losing the initial Senate skirmish over a hotly disputed plan to take Apache attack helicopters away from National Guard units in a budget-cutting move that has infuriated governors and state military leaders.

The proposal would transfer dozens of the sleek Apache combat aircraft to active-duty units and give larger, multiuse Black Hawk helicopters to the Guard. It has gotten high-level support at the Pentagon, including a visit to the Army's aviation center at Fort Rucker, Alabama, last week by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

But the war-fighting arguments and billions of dollars in cost savings aren't enough to overcome lawmakers' staunch support for their state units and their view that after 13 years of war, active-duty and Guard battalions must be interchangeable.

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