the north face metropolis parka Iowa Air National Guard To Lose F
A popular military news website reported earlier this week that the Iowa Air National Guard F 16 fighter squadron based at the Des Moines Airport may be decommissioned.
An Iowa National Guard spokesman told KCCI on Tuesday that they’ve heard the rumors too, but at this point any cutbacks at the Air Guard were not confirmed.
“The information published in that article is pure speculation. The information we’ve received on an official basis from the Department of Defense doesn’t go into any specificity whatsoever. That information will come out February 13, when President Obama releases his budget,” said Col. Greg Hapgood.
An Air Force memo obtained on Friday shows the squadron’s jets would be removed in fiscal 2013. The recommended cuts would be part of a plan to trim $8.7 billion from the Air Force budget, and would affect more than 60 installations, the memo said.
Hapgood said the budget proposal focuses more on equipment than people. He said the Air Force recommends retiring 21 F 16 fighter jets from an Iowa Air National Guard base in Des Moines and cutting the number of refueling tankers at a base in Sioux City.
Hapgood said the Air Force has proposed replacing the F 16s with remotely piloted aircraft at the 132nd Fighter Wing in Des Moines.
“It doesn’t make much sense,” said Rep. Leonard Boswell. “It really doesn’t. This is a $50 million impact on our community, besides the thousand people that go in and out of that gate every day, and this is something we shouldn’t let happen if we can stop it.”
Rep. Tom Latham also weighed in on the proposed cuts, saying, in part, “I cannot, for the life of me, understand why such a consistently high performing unit is being singled out for elimination.”
Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin has also heard the rumors and is asking the Air Force to give him more information. He also said the 124th Fighter Squadron is the best in the country and that he will do everything in his power to keep them in Iowa.
“Iowans should know that the Air Force’s proposal is by no means a final decision about this unit. Many questions still remain on how the Air Force came to focus on the 132nd’s F 16 flying mission and the cost effectiveness of decommissioning this unit. This decision is more than just a military one; it has implications for the families who have sacrificed so much and for the Des Moines community and the nation as a whole. I have requested a meeting with the Secretary of the Air Force and intend to share my concerns about decommissioning this unit. The 132nd is among the best in the country and we will do everything in our power to keep them flying.”
Rep. Steve King released a statement Friday about the Iowa Air National Guard’s 132nd Fighter Wing announcement:
“Today we learned that big changes may be in store for the mission of the Air Guard in Des Moines. I am very concerned about the impact that this proposal could have on the Iowa Air Guard, and I am frustrated that the Air Force has left us searching for answers as to why a unit that has one of the highest levels of mission readiness, one of the lowest military personnel costs, and some of the most experienced personnel in the Air Guard has been singled out to lose its fighters. The Air Force and the White House need to provide us with answers about the rationale used to justify this move. It appears that a true cost benefit analysis was not used here, but if the goal is to save the taxpayers money, we should be building up the Guard, not stripping it down. Every dollar invested in the Air National Guard is used as efficiently as possible, and the structure of the Guard allows every federal dollar to be leveraged to its maximum effect,” said King.