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Friday, December 3rd, 2021

Florida lawmakers advocate fighter jet basing

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A group of Florida lawmakers recently urged the Air Force to consider the Florida Air National Guard’s 125th Fighter Wing for the next series of F-35 basing decisions.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) was joined by Reps. John Rutherford (R-FL), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Michael Waltz (R-FL) and Mario Díaz-Balart (R-FL) in forwarding correspondence to Acting Secretary of the Air Force Matthew Donovan. The legislators state that the Florida Air National Guard’s 125th Fighter Wing is the ideal location to base a fifth-generation fighter squadron for the Guard.

“A Florida installation would be an ideal home for these aircraft, their mission, and the personnel who will operate and maintain them,” the legislators wrote. “As you know, the Florida Air National Guard’s 125th Fighter Wing currently flies the F-15 C/D Eagles and is critical to the air defense mission for the southeastern United States. Because of its strategic location and access to unparalleled training infrastructure and airspace, including direct access to overwater operating areas without land overflight, the 125th is one of our nation’s premier defense wings.”

The 125th Fighter Wing has twice been a finalist for F-35 basing, the legislators noted, adding that the City of Jacksonville and the State of Florida have a history of supporting installations.