|Local Leaders Advocate for New Tankers|
March 1, 2013 -
Seven business and civic leaders traveled to the headquarters of the U.S. Air Force Air Mobility Command (AMC) yesterday to advocate for Fairchild Air Force Base to be the first active duty Main Operating Base for the new KC-46A tanker. The Air Force will be making that determination by May 1, 2013, selecting a preferred alternative from among four bases: Altus AFB, Fairchild AFB, Grand Forks AFB and McConnell AFB.
Spokane leaders met for three hours with General Paul Selva, the new Commanding Officer (CO) of AMC.
"We delivered a very impactful presentation on the competitive strengths of Fairchild AFB," said Maj. Gen. Paul Fletcher (retired) and a leader on Greater Spokane Incorporated's Forward Fairchild committee. "Fairchild is strategically located on refueling tracks to the Pacific - Asia theater, the Classic Association between the 92nd and the 141st Air Refueling Wings has produced exceptional aircraft utilization results, and the base operations infrastructure is ready-made for the new tanker."
"General Selva is one of the key decision makers on siting the tanker, and I was impressed with his understanding of Fairchild's assets, the development pressures around the base, and the benefit of being close to Boeing's production facilities," Mayor David Condon added.
Gen. Selva was CO of the 62nd Air Lift Wing (ALW) at McChord AFB from July 2000 - June 2002.
"Gen. Selva and his staff were complimentary about the exceptional community support for Fairchild," said Spokane County Commissioner Todd Mielke. "The teamwork to adopt the Joint Land Use Study protections for the base, and efforts to relocate residential uses from sensitive areas were applauded."
"While the Air Force is neutral on the proposed casino and resort complex on the West Plains, it is clear to me that its concerns about noise, lighting and safety have become more evident after the Final Environmental Impact Statement became public at the end of January," said Bill Savitz of Garco Construction and chair of Greater Spokane Incorporated's Public Policy Council.
The next steps in Forward Fairchild's advocacy for the new tankers will be meetings with the CO of the 18th Air Force, trips to the Pentagon in March and April, and briefing state leaders in Olympia.
"We have an extraordinary coalition of federal, state and local leaders called Fairchild First and we are focused on being number one when the Air Force makes its announcement," said Rich Hadley, President and CEO of Greater Spokane Incorporated.
The group presented this document (PDF) outlining Fairchild AFB's competitive strengths.
Mayor David Condon, City of Spokane
Commissioner Todd Mielke, Spokane County
Scott Morris, CEO, Avista
Maj. Gen. Paul Fletcher (retired)
Bill Simer, AMC Civic Leader Emeritus
Bill Savitz, Garco Construction
Rich Hadley, Greater Spokane Incorporated