FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) The 122nd Fighter Wing and local Congressmen are reacting to Monday’s proposed cuts to the U.S. military. One major change is eliminating A-10 combat jets flown by Fort Wayne’s Air National Guard Base.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel proposed eliminating the A-10 aircraft, U-2 spy planes, shrinking the army to its smallest size in 74 years and reducing some military benefits. This would save about $75 billion over the next two years.
Military, including our local Air National Guard Base, 122nd Fighter Wing, could use F-35 Joint Strike Fighters instead.
Colonel David Augustine, Commander of the 122nd Fighter Wing released the following statement:
“The 122nd Fighter Wing will continue to fly the A-10 and be combat ready in this mission until the Air Force converts the 122nd Fighter Wing into a new mission. We are committed to remain one of the country’s most capable fighter wings and in the future, bring the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to the base.”
These moves are expected to draw some debate in Congress.
Democratic Senator Joe Donnelly’s Communications Director, Elizabeth Shappell, released this statement:
“As a member of the Armed Services Committee, Senator Donnelly supports the current A-10 mission and will be working closely with the DoD and his colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure that Fort Wayne retains an air combat mission.”
Republican Senator Dan Coats released this statement:
“As this process moves forward, I will join the Governor, General Umbarger and my colleagues in the Indiana delegation to highlight the Indiana Air National Guard’s vital role in our national defense.”
Republican Congressman Marlin Stutzman released the following statement:
“The 122nd Fighter Wing is an efficient and battle-tested force and I’ll continue standing shoulder to shoulder with the Indiana National Guard as we work to keep fighters right here in Fort Wayne.”
The proposed 2015 budget is scheduled to be released March 4.
The 122nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs Superintendent Darin Hubble said that he hopes to know more in a couple of weeks.