ARIZONA – Today, Arizona Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly and Representatives Ruben Gallego (AZ-03) and Juan Ciscomani (AZ-06) released a joint statement on the Air Force’s selection of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base as the preferred site for additional combat search and rescue assets as well as the new 492nd Special Forces Power Projection Wing. The wing will include OA-1K light attack and MC-130 transport aircraft.
This announcement comes after the group wrote Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall in April following a briefing on the Air Force’s plans for the future mission of the base, urging him to work closely with them and the Tucson community. At their request, the Air Force held briefings with community leaders in Tucson.
“With its year-round flying weather, extensive training range space, and proximity to other military bases, Southern Arizona is a natural choice to establish this Special Operations Wing in the Southwest. These flying missions are critical to our military’s ability to outcompete our adversaries, and this decision is a positive step towards bringing them to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base that will enable the Air Force to proceed with the next set of site reviews to prepare the base for this transition. We’ll continue working alongside the Tucson community to secure the long-term future of DM,” said Sinema, Kelly, Gallego, and Ciscomani.
“The DM50 continues to advocate for future flying missions at Davis-Monthan and we believe the additional combat search and rescue assets as well as the Special Forces Power Projection Wing will be a tremendous addition to the base and the local community. Additionally, we are very appreciative of the continued advocacy and support of the entire Arizona delegation as we work together to ensure the future of DM,” said Jay Bickley, DM50 President.
“The announcement of the 492nd Wing at Davis-Monthan AFB continues the legacy of excellence in Tucson for the Air Force. This new Special Forces Power Projection Wing represents the tip of the spear for the Air Force. As our national defense posture evolves to a new region, this next mission ensures that Davis-Monthan – and all of Southern Arizona – continues to be critical to the testing, training, and operational readiness of our military,” said Robert Medler, President of the Southern Arizona Defense Alliance. “The future mission of Davis-Monthan AFB has been in flux as the conflicts in the middle east have ended. The work done by this bi-partisan congressional delegation should not go unnoticed – thank you for getting us to this point.”
Both the Senate and the House versions of the annual defense bill, the National Defense Authorization Act, include funds for the Air Force to carry out the ongoing site review and planning to establish the new Special Operations wing at DM. The Senate defense bill also includes a provision added by Kelly and supported by Sinema during committee markup directing the Department of Defense (DOD) to provide the committee a full accounting of anticipated steps, timeline, and budget plans for actions necessary to complete the restructure plan.