September 15, 2016

Udall, Heinrich, Pearce Press Case for Moving F-16 Squadrons to Holloman AFB

Meet with AF Under Secretary to promote Holloman's experience, flying space and Alamogordo's support for the military

WASHINGTON - Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and U.S. Representative Steve Pearce met with Air Force Under Secretary Lisa Disbrow in the U.S. Capitol as part of their joint effort to urge the U.S. Air Force to relocate operational F-16 squadrons to Holloman Air Force Base. The lawmakers pressed their case for expanding Holloman's mission to include new F-16 formal training units.

In August, the three wrote a letter to Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James and Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein. In the letter, they explained that relocating the fighter aircraft to Holloman would benefit the Air Force's F-16 training pipeline. In today's meeting, they again highlighted the base's experience with the F-16 mission as well as its access to unmatched restricted airspace, quality infrastructure, 360-plus days of sunshine, and strong Air Force community.

"We had a productive meeting today with Air Force Under Secretary Disbrow where we continued to make the case for the Air Force moving F-16 squadrons to Holloman," Udall said after the meeting. "I'm extremely proud of Holloman and its relationships with the strong military installations in Southern New Mexico. Holloman is located in one of the most pristine areas for training and testing in the nation, and its airspace is unmatched and offers opportunities like nowhere else in America. Holloman is ready to house additional F-16s, and the community is eager to welcome them. This move would benefit the Air Force, our service members, and the state of New Mexico, and I will continue to push to make it happen."

"Our meeting with Air Force Under Secretary Disbrow was an important step in our effort to bring additional F-16 squadrons to southern New Mexico. Holloman Air Force Base has proven it is already excelling as an F-16 training base, and given its access to unmatched, restricted airspace and the availability of existing infrastructure, Holloman is a perfect choice for hosting additional F-16 training for the United States Air Force," said Heinrich. "As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I will continue fighting to secure whatever resources are necessary for both White Sands Missile Range and Holloman Air Force Base to accommodate the additional aircraft and personnel."

"Holloman Air Force base is the premier base in the nation to train pilots. From airspace to flyable days, students and instructors alike have more time in the air than virtually any location in the nation. Holloman is the natural fit for additional F-16 units, it has the space, the weather, and the community support to become the hub of F-16 training in the nation. Expansion of F-16 squadrons into New Mexico, not only helps the Air Force's current fighter pilot shortage, but also benefits the communities and economies that support Holloman. Today's meeting with the Air Force is another step in the right direction. I appreciate my colleagues for working with me on this vital issue for our nation and for our state," said Congressman Pearce.

The Air Force needs to move F-16s from Hill Air Force Base in Utah, which soon will house new F-35s. A decision is expected within months.