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Budget Cuts Would Eliminate Navy Squadron in Belle Chasse

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New Orleans Naval Air Station

The Navy has proposed decommissioning a squadron at the air station in Belle Chasse as part of its plans to meet President Barack Obama’s budget cut orders.

The Belle Chase Squadron is the only naval aviation unit dedicated to fighting drug smugglers.

Under the 2013 spending plan released last Monday, the Navy Reserve’s Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 77 would cease to exist Sept. 30.

Known as the Nightwolves, the squadron has about 100 active duty and reserve Navy aircrews. About 55 civilian contractors from Northrup Grumman maintain its six E-2C Hawkeye airplanes.

Navy spokesman Lt. Paul Macapagal says the choice is between units designed to fight wars and those with missions like that of “VAW-77″.

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