Expecting More:

The Senators from Minnesota got “an assurance” from the Air Force during a May 15 meeting that the Air National Guard’s 148th Fighter Wing at Duluth will trade its Block 25 F-16s for Block 40 Vipers in Fiscal 2013. However, Sen. Norm Coleman (R) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D) left no doubt that they expect more. The Air Force had wanted to gut the 148th, but BRAC 2005 commissioners saved the unit, saying USAF should find it a new mission before its fighters age out. In a joint statement, Coleman said, “I still have concerns about the Block 40 F-16 representing a long-term solution.” He said the unit should not have to face another upgrade in 2013 and vowed to work with other Minnesota elected officials to “create a concrete follow-on mission.” Klobuchar asserted that “now is not the time to start limiting the role of Duluth’s 148th Fighter Wing, a highly decorated unit that has served two tours in Iraq.”