A Step Ahead in Montana

Efforts to get the Air Force to consider establishing an associate arrangement between the Montana Air National Guard’s 120th Fighter Wing at the Great Falls Airport and Malmstrom Air Force Base are moving ahead, slowly. Sen. Max Baucus (D) and Sen. Jon Tester (D) included a provision in the 2008 defense policy bill that requires the Air Force to study such a partnership before Malmstrom removes the last 10 of 50 Minuteman III ICBMs slated for deactivation. The Senators want the service to increase the number of 120th FW F-15s from 15 to 24 and add pilots and maintainers to the force at Malmstrom, bringing “an estimated 100 new good-paying jobs to Great Falls.” Part of this action might also involve reopening the runway at Malmstrom.