April 22, 2020

Udall, Heinrich, Torres Small Hail Air Force Decision to Station F-16 Squadron at Holloman

WASHINGTON - Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and U.S. Representative Xochitl Torres Small (D-N.M.) applauded the U.S. Air Force's decision to select Holloman Air Force Base as the preferred location for basing an F-16 training squadron. The basing of the squadron at Holloman is critically important to addressing the Air Force's shortage of fighter pilots and providing certainty to service members and to New Mexico communities for economic development, construction and infrastructure planning. The Air Force’s decision ensures that Holloman will host three F-16 squadrons for the foreseeable future. 

The decision follows a sustained effort by the lawmakers to promote Holloman Air Force Base and to convince the Air Force to issue a permanent Formal Training Unit (FTU) to Holloman after temporarily relocating an F-16 squadron to the base in 2017. The lawmakers have continued to push Air Force leadership in oversight and budget hearings, and helped pave the way for the permanent station recommendation by securing an additional $20 million in construction funding for Holloman in the most recent major defense spending package that passed Congress in 2019.

“In choosing to relocate this F-16 squadron to Holloman Air Force Base, the Air Force has made the right decision that will strengthen our national security, support our service members and their families, and New Mexico's economy," said Udall. “Holloman is already excelling in its current F-16 mission, and I have every confidence that the base will continue to thrive as a training site for the new squadron. The city of Alamogordo is a true ‘Air Force town' that is proud to welcome our service members in their community—and this Air Force decision and the certainty it brings is particularly welcome as New Mexico and the nation faces an uncertain economic future. As a member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, I will continue to fight to ensure that New Mexico's first-rate military bases and national labs have the resources they need to keep our nation secure. New Mexico looks forward to welcoming more of the Air Force’s future pilots to our state.”

“The Air Force’s decision to station the 8th Fighter Squadron at Holloman Air Force Base affirms the installation’s position as a national leader when it comes to training fighter pilots. The base boasts unmatched airspace, varied geography to conduct this specific type of training, and a community that is ready and eager to support our servicemembers and their families. Additionally, Holloman already has the necessary assets, crew, instructors, and infrastructure to meet the criteria for this permanent mission,” said Heinrich. “I welcome this announcement from the Air Force and the economic impact it will have on the Alamogordo area. As a member of the Senate Armed Service Committee, I will continue fighting to sustain Holloman’s current capabilities and maintain New Mexico’s preeminence in shaping United States combat airpower.”

“Holloman Air Force Base and its mission are both  critical to our national defense and an integral part of our community. That’s why I’ve advocated from my position on the House Armed Service Committee to bring the 8th Fighter Squadron here, permanently home in Southern New Mexico. In selecting Holloman for the F16 squadron, the Air Force recognizes the community and base’s concerted hard work,  grounded in the close relationship they’ve fostered. Holloman is an unparalleled installation—its surroundings and facilities offer resources unavailable anywhere else on earth, and I’m proud to continue to fight for its future mission growth,” said Torres Small.