Hurd, Smith lead bipartisan efforts to bring F-16 Formal Training Unit to Joint-Base San Antonio

U.S. Reps. Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Will Hurd (R-TX) recently led a bipartisan call for the Air Force to locate a new F-16 Formal Training Unit (FTU) at Joint-Base San Antonio (JBSA).

In a letter to Air Force Chief of Staff David Goldfein, the legislators said that the Air Force’s selection of JBSA for the F-16 FTU would be a major win for the local military community and private sector.

“With the 149th Fighter Wing at Kelly Field, outstanding year round flying conditions, extensive hanger and servicing capacity, and strong community support from Military City USA, Joint Base San Antonio is the textbook location to assume additional FTU,” Hurd, who authored the letter, said. “A new F-16 FTU will combat the well-documented fighter pilot shortage and would be a major win for the local military community and private sector aviation companies that employ thousands of San Antonians. I’m proud to champion the initiative.”

The letter cites “a number of intangibles” that elevate JBSA above other potential F-16 FTU locations.

“Whether it is the continued investment at the state and local level in infrastructure to support military institutions, the robust private sector aviation presence around Kelly Field, such as the innovation Port San Antonio and their existing relationships with JBSA and the Air Force, or simply the personnel support benefits the largest installation in the DoD enterprise has to offer coupled with historically strong support from ‘Military City USA,’” the letter states.

Air Force Col. Timothy Madden, the 149th Wing Commander, also highlighted local support provided by Military City USA neighbors.

“Our civic leaders and community partners have been essential in keeping our operations unimpeded and flourishing,” Madden said. “Their support has positively influenced our ability to graduate some of the finest F-16 fighter pilots in the Air Force.”

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