Arizona Delegation Sends Letter To Pentagon To Build Up Base

Members of the Arizona congressional delegation have penned a letter to the Pentagon asking that they provide more aerial refueling tankers to a Phoenix based Air National Guard Unit.

The letter was signed by Democrat Sen. Kyrsten Sinema and Republican Sen. Martha McSally, plus eight out of the nine Arizona U.S House members. Democrats Reps. Ruben Gallego, Ann Kirkpatrick, Tom O’Halleran and Greg Stanton, plus Republican Reps. Andy Biggs, Paul Gosar, Debbie Lesko and David Schweikert all signed the letter.

The letter stated that the 161st Air Refueling Wing needed an additional KC-135 because the demand for aerial refueling in the region was on the increase.

The letter which was sent out in late July noted the refueling needs of planes either based at installations in metro Phoenix, Tucson, Yuma or assigned to out-of-state units using the Barry M. Goldwater Range complex close to the California border. The letter also stated that the expansion of the 161st’s roster of eight KC-135 would help justify the expansion of its home base.

The letter read, “As representatives from Arizona, we are proud that our state is home to premier installations for combat air power.”

“The security of our nation depends on the combat readiness of our Air Force…We respectfully request you provide our respective offices with a briefing outlining how the Air Force plans to address unmet and future air refueling demand …”

Democratic Rep. Raul Grijalva did not sign the letter.