Commanding officers discuss future of Davis-Monthan AFB - Tucson News Now

Commanding officers discuss future of Davis-Monthan

According to the Air Force, Davis-Monthan employs about 5,000 people in support of the A-10. According to the Air Force, Davis-Monthan employs about 5,000 people in support of the A-10.
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Davis-Monthan Air Force Base Commander, Col. Kevin Blanchard spoke with local business leaders Friday morning about the base and its future.

It was part of the Metropolitan Pima Alliance business breakfast at the Tucson Realtor Association headquarters.

Blanchard discussed Davis-Monthan Air Force Base's role in the local community and throughout the world. Among them, the A-10 Thunderbolt II fighter jet, as well as the rescue missions and electronic combat training that happens at the base to use in real life situations around the world. The A-10 has been threatened because of sequestration cuts.

This week, Congressman Ron Barber signed a letter with more than 30 other legislators sent to the Defense Department in hopes of keeping the A-10 around. Blanchard says it is the only place where pilots train to fly the A-10.

"If you have the weapons system in the Air Force than the training is vital because we are the only source for new pilots," Blanchard said. "We're the only source for training new pilots. We're the only source of instructor pilots for that training, so training is absolutely key to maintenance of the weapons system for all those units that deploy worldwide."

According to the Air Force, Davis-Monthan employs about 5,000 people in support of the A-10, contributing more than $1 billion to the Southern Arizona economy.

Copyright 2013 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

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