Goodbye Hawkeye Falcons

Congress approved the elimination of the Iowa Air National Guard’s F-16s, one of the Air Force’s proposed force structure adjustments, in the Fiscal 2013 defense authorization act. In this fiscal year, the Air Force is retiring a total of 21 F-16s from the inventory—all of which will come from the 132nd Fighter Wing at Des Moines, explained Col. Jon Thomas, the Air Force’s program integration division chief at the Pentagon. Air Force leaders “spent a whole lot of time talking about it,” but ultimately the case was clear and “Congress accepted it,” he told reporters on Jan. 10 during a media roundtable. The 132nd FW’s fighters most recently deployed to Afghanistan last February. Unlike the Air Force’s proposal to cut 102 A-10s that Congress scaled back to just 61, the F-16 cut was simpler, said Thomas. “With the A-10s, you were talking about five different squadrons at different locations,” he said. With the F-16s “it was just one unit,” he added.