NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. -- There is now officially a new mission for the Niagara Falls Air Reserve station with the formal recognition of the 914th Air Force Reserve Unit as an air refueling wing.

After 46 years of flying C-130 cargo planes, the 914th will now fly the KC-135 tankers. They are coming back to the base after the BRAC redeployment in in 2005.

While there's mixed feelings about losing the C-130 planes, unit members are confident the tanker role is crucial for the Air Force and its various missions.

"We've got bomber missions, cargo missions, airborne command and control missions," said Colonel Erik Aufderheide. "All sorts of things that rely on us to be at a certain place, at a certain time, at a certain altitude to transfer that fuel so we can get anywhere on the globe within hours."

Along with the drone mission for the 107th Air National Guard, which is also coming online, there is hope these new missions will ensure Niagara County's largest employer stays open.