Michigan’s lawmakers are calling on the Air Force to reassess its F-35 Air National Guard basing plans, and move the jet to Selfridge ANGB in the state instead of Truax Field ANGB in Wisconsin.
The Air Force in 2017 selected Truax Field as the preferred location for an Air National Guard F-35A unit, along with Dannelly Field in Alabama. While many Wisconsin lawmakers and local groups such as the Madison Chamber of Commerce are pushing for the jets, strong local opposition prompted the Madison City Council to ask the Air Force to reconsider its plan, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.
In a Nov. 25 letter to Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett, 14 members of the Michigan congressional delegation urged the service to shift its basing toward Selfridge, currently the home to A-10s.
“Macomb County, Michigan’s residents, and elected officials welcome a potential F-35 mission and have consistently offered community support to Selfridge and its tenants,” the lawmakers wrote. “Selfridge offers the capabilities and facilities ideally suited to sustain F-35 operations.”
Lawmakers tout the base’s modern facilities, low cost of conversion, and a nearby training range as benefits to moving the F-35s to Selfridge. The base hosts the annual, large-scale training event, Operation Northern Strike, and it also hosts KC-135s.
The Air Force, in its 2017 announcement, said it expects F-35s to begin arriving at Truax Field in early 2023. Truax and Dannelly would follow Vermont’s Burlington AGS, which received its first jets in September.