WASHINGTON, D.C. (WANE) U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly of Indiana has written a letter calling for air combat mission status at the 122nd Fighter Wing in Fort Wayne to be maintained if the Defense Department goes ahead with a proposal announced earlier this week that would eliminate the A-10 fighter currently flown at the Air Guard base.
The letter was addressed to Secretary of the Air Force and the Chief of Staff of the Air Force.
“The A-10 has served this country well in providing close air support to our ground forces and special operators, and has played a vital role in our operations in Afghanistan,” wrote Donnelly. “The Air National Guard Airmen in Fort Wayne have been proud to support this effort.”
The plan to kill the A-10 was announced by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Monday as part of a 2015 budget proposal that would shrink the military.
Colonel David Augustine, Commander of the 122nd Fighter Wing released the following statement on Tuesday regarding the proposal:
“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.”
Senator Dan Coats released the following 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.”
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 122nd Fighter Wing is located adjacent to Fort Wayne International Airport and over the past several decades has flown a variety of combat aircraft including the F-4 Fighter, the F-16 Fighter and the F-100 Fighter.