Thursday, October 22, 2009

Franks, AZ Delegation Send Letter Promoting Luke AFB

For Immediate Release

Contact: Bethany Haley or Ben Carnes at 202-225-4576

Congressman Trent Franks, AZ Delegation, Send Letter Promoting Luke AFB

October 21, 2009 - Congressman Trent Franks (R - AZ), joined by all other nine members of Arizona's Congressional delegation, sent a letter to the Honorable Michael Donley, Secretary of the Air Force, and General Norton Schwartz, Air Force Chief of Staff, expressing the delegation's support for naming Luke Air Force Base the 2nd Pilot Training Center for the F-35. A pdf of the letter is attached and the full text of the letter follows:

Dear Secretary Donley & General Schwartz,

The Air Force is in the process of finalizing screening criteria to assist in an “enterprise-wide look” to determine the location of a 2nd Pilot Training Center (PTC-2) for the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). As we understand the process, you will use the criteria as a basis for consideration, while also relying on the advice of senior Air Force leaders and their military judgment, to develop a list of candidate JSF installations for subsequent environmental assessments. As delegation members from a strongly pro-military state, we have the benefit of knowing that our constituents and the U.S. military have strong ties that are both deeply rooted and born out of mutual respect. We have worked diligently across the state to conduct a “managed growth” effort that ensures the viability of our military installations while allowing local communities to grow and thrive. Our delegation has worked in a bipartisan and bicameral manner to support our military service members and their families, as well as the military installations located in Arizona. Our State Legislature has adopted far-reaching statutes designed to protect all of our military bases, including Luke AFB, from any potential future encroachment which would have the potential of impacting current or future missions.

Additionally, local citizens groups such as Fighter Country Partnership, the mayors of the communities which surround Luke AFB, and the Arizona State Government have all communicated their support to the Federal Aviation Administration for approval of the Luke Special Air Traffic Rule (SATR). The SATR was developed by Luke AFB with local airport authorities to help us manage growth in the air space and facilitate responsible economic development compatible with Luke AFB and its mission.

Luke AFB, with its robust and modern infrastructure, provides the Department with a site that is extremely well-suited to support fifth-generation fighter tactics and training as required by the F-35. We have worked together to enable Luke AFB and the Barry M. Goldwater Range (BMGR) to remain vital national assets in the Air Force’s support of the global contingency operations. Coupled with a network of Auxiliary Fields and an average of 360 days of sunshine each year, BMGR provides pilots with year round, adaptable state-of-the-art training capabilities in varied terrain and a realistic training environment.

Combine these assets with the well-documented commitment from Arizonans who live and work outside the confines of the base, and it underscores why we believe that Luke AFB is indeed a national asset suitable for current and future missions.

We look forward to working with you and your staff as the Air Force proceeds forward on this issue.


Senator John McCain (R-AZ) Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ)

Rep. Trent Franks (AZ-02) Rep. Ed Pastor (AZ-04)

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (AZ-08) Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-01)

Rep. Harry Mitchell (AZ-06) Rep. John Shadegg (AZ-03)

Rep. Jeff Flake (AZ-05) Rep. Raul Grijalva (AZ-07)

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