SHREVEPORT (AP) — By October, the 47th Fighter Squadron will be gone from Barksdale Air Force Base.
The Air Force Reserve squadron's 24 A-10 Thunderbolt II and most of its pilots and personnel could be at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base near Tucson, Ariz., as early as late August, according to reports.
Some of the 580 people already have left, said Col. John Breazeale, commander of the 917th Fighter Group, which controls the 47th Fighter Squadron and is scheduled to close.
He said some personnel will remain at Barksdale to fill open slots in available at the Air Force Reserve's 307th Bomb Wing.
The 917th Fighter Group had 409 part-time reservists and 171 full-time technicians when the cuts were announced in March 2012.
They are the result of cutbacks announced before the current sequestration and budget disputes that have embroiled Washington in recent months.
Both of Louisiana's U.S. senators and U.S. Rep. John Fleming vowed to fight to keep the squadron and the A-10 mission intact, but to no avail.
"If sequestration were fixed tomorrow, it's a battle that I think we could decently fight and win," Fleming said from Washington this week.
But with the bigger defense battles looming the local mission had no chance, and if the airplanes go away, the chances of getting them back here are "virtually zero," Fleming said.