Bi-partisan Arizona effort to save A-10, Davis Monthan

At the same time the Arizona House Committee on Military Affairs, lead by Rep. Sonny Borelli and Rep. Mark Finchem, was convening an informational hearing on the fate of Davis Monthan, and the A-10, Arizona Rep. Martha McSally was leading the same charge in D.C.

McSally sent a letter to Chairman Frelinghuysen and Ranking Member Visclosky, with a bipartisan group of 18 lawmakers to urge rejection of the Administration’s plan to divest the A-10 fleet beginning in Fiscal Year 2016. The letter shows across the aisle support in the House for keeping the A-10 funded and opposing the Administration’s plans to mothball the weapons system ahead of schedule.

“We recognize the challenges imposed by the Budget Control Act, but we believe that now is not the time to divest an aircraft that has demonstrated success in combat for decades and has saved lives, especially at a time when there is no suitable replacement,” the lawmakers said in the letter. “We urge you to reject the President’s request to divest the A-10 aircraft fleet in the Fiscal Year 2016 Defense Appropriations bill.”

The Arizona State House Military Affairs Committee was briefed by Lt. Colonel (Retired) Thomas Norris, and Special Ops Joint Terminal Attack Controller, Verne Patterson on the situation with the A-10 and the impact mothballing would have on troops as well as the economic impact the state would suffer if Davis Monthan Air Force base in Tucson was targeted for closure.

Representatives Richard Andrade, Noel Campbell, Anthony Kern, all service members themselves were very familiar with the Warthog and its capabilities and were surprised by the USAF maneuvers. All pledged their support for the aircraft and Davis Monthan.

Rep. Mark Finchem inquired as to why the Air Force would consider the A-10 retirement. Finchem asked if there was “something that may be more nefarious” at work. “You know, you always gotta buy something, something more expensive. And here, by the way, where we’re gonna have to convince you that is no good anymore so you have to buy the shiny new thing. In your estimation,” Finchem asked Norris, “how much of that is it work in this this equation colonel?”

“The defense industry, the industrial complex, if you will, is very much at work here. I believe that the Lockheed lobby is unbelievably strong. I have heard things like because we’re super power we have to be able to conduct the biggest baddest war on the planet despite what’s going on today. So they look out into the future and pick the biggest baddest thing. Plug it into a whopper computer and out spits out what they need to do the job.

Chair Rep. Sonny Borelli, a former Gunnery Sergeant, in the United States Marine Corps, shaking his head in agreement interrupted, “Excuse me, and at the end of the day, the biggest, baddest SOB on the battlefield is that 18 or 19 year old soldier, marine, airman, with an M-16. When we own the sky, we own the battlefield because that’s the real true smart weapon on the battlefield. It’s the boots on the ground that we owe this responsibility to first and foremost. The economy is great,” stated Borelli referring to the concerns regarding base closure, “but first and foremost its American blood that’s the treasure.”

A hearing has been scheduled by Senator Steve Smith, Chair of the Public Safety, Military and Technology Committee for Wednesday.

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13 Comments

  1. And too, with no representation from anyone from Pima County BOS or COT up there, don’t think for one minute that anyone from Maricopa County or Phoenix has any interest or care about preserving DM or the A-10. If anything, preserving Luke AFB and its singular training mission…….F-16, and the 6th generation F-35…..is a concern that would rank far and above an airbase in Tucson and it’s 3rd generation aircraft.

  2. All smoke and mirrors here. The “hey, we tried our best. Sorry we couldn’t make it work. Make sure to vote for us again!”

    The dye is cast. The theatre will end shortly.

  3. Meanwhile Senator Flake has come out in support of this stating it was in the works for a long time. Someone please remind Senator Flake that he represents more than Maricopa County.

  4. Sober the BOS & COT politicians up. In the whole bunch there’s only 1 who truly cares about the taxpayer and business. Of course that’s Ally. The rest are not only drinking too much but me thinketh smoking a little too much of that weed floating around. Used of course for medicinal purposes only.

  5. Hank, that was kind of like Ron Barber being surprised that the A10 was on the chopping block.. Wonder just what the hell the dumba$$es do all day in DC. It can’t be any research for the good of their district or state. Must be meetings with K Street lobbies all the time so that they can figure out how to best sell their soul and us out.

  6. I was driving past Camp Pendleton last week and there was a very large sign on I-5 proclaiming it a State Treasure. State Senator Al Melvin points out that ‘Military bases seldom stay where they are not wanted’. It is said that an addict has to hit bottom. Losing over a billion a year in economic impact should sober us up.
    But … not so fast say the naysayers … We’ll make it by raising taxes.

  7. If they are going to close DM we have to move quickly to build street car tracks to the base so the people who will no longer be working there will have a way to not commute to work.

  8. Why is anyone surprised? This is just typical of all pols: “Representatives Richard Andrade, Noel Campbell, Anthony Kern, all service members themselves were very familiar with the Warthog and its capabilities and were surprised by the USAF maneuvers. All pledged their support for the aircraft and Davis Monthan.”

    Where have these guys been out on MARS? Where is the news of mclame and mcflake, mcsilly is appearing to do something but what is the ultimate goal, since at first she did not support the A10? Is this just some of the smoke for the smoke and mirrors that are being used?

  9. Good luck with this. Unfortunately, with DM being a federal military installation and the A-10s there being federal military assets, what some state committee feels on the matter doesn’t hold a ton of water to what the feds want to do with their own stuff.

  10. All I can say is too little too late. I am very afraid the die is cast and DM and the A10 will go out together. In stark contrast to what is being done at the state and federal level, I find it very telling that no one from the COT or Pima County is involved in this process. Speaks volumes about the local leadership of this pathetic area. For God’s sake, we cant even agree on how to build Broadway and the rest of our roads are falling apart and the locals are quite content to take a 2 billion dollar hit to the local economy when DM closes. Yea, I would expect nothing less in Baja, AZ.

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