The U.S. Air Force has tapped Elgin Air Force Base (AFB) to be the top a choice to redirect a F-35 A Fighter Training Squadron–and members of the Florida delegation on Capitol Hill are cheering the news.
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., weighed in on the matter on Thursday.
“The 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) established the F-35 Integrated Training Center at Eglin AFB, which currently fields a squadron of 24 F-35A Joint Strike Fighters. Nine of these F-35s will be replaced with newer aircraft in order to meet training requirements and to increase readiness availability. With this decision, Eglin AFB will now be home to two F-35 squadrons,” Rubio’s office noted.
“I welcome the decision by the Air Force to make Florida’s Eglin Air Force Base home to two F-35 squadrons,” Rubio said. “My highest priority is ensuring the men and women who proudly and bravely serve our country have the tools they need to succeed. As we continue to take steps to rebuild our armed forces, ensure readiness, and modernize our equipment, I remain committed to ensuring the Air Force has the aircraft inventory necessary to compete with a near-peer adversary such as Russia or China.”
“President Trump and Air Force Secretary Wilson have once again proven their deep and abiding commitment to the United States Armed Forces, especially in Northwest Florida. Senator Rubio and I are deeply pleased today to announce that Eglin Air Force Base will be receiving an additional F-35A squadron – and with it, bringing over 500 additional military personnel members to our district. Eglin Air Force base has the capability to house, train, and equip our next generation of F-35 pilots. This is a tremendous victory for Florida’s First Congressional District, and we stand proud to have them flying through our skies in Northwest Florida,” Gaetz said.
Kevin Derby can be reached at Kevin.Derby@floridadaily.com.