Congressional delegation pushes for relocation of F-22 squadron to Hampton Roads
U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) were joined by every member of the Virginia congressional delegation in urging U.S. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson to relocate the F-22 Flight and Maintenance Formal Training Units (FTU) to Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Hampton Roads.
Originally located at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida, which was heavily damaged by Hurricane Michael in October of 2018, the squadron is being temporarily held at Eglin Air Force Base, awaiting a decision by Secretary Wilson as to where it will be housed permanently.
“Beyond the existing ramp space and infrastructure at Langley that would allow it to quickly receive aircraft at minimal additional cost, a decision to move the F-22 FTU to Langley would leverage a number of key benefits that Langley and the surrounding areas have,” said the members of Congress. “The Hampton Roads area has a long history of supporting our nation’s military and their families, and would provide strong recruiting and retention ability.”
“Additionally, the Virginia Air National Guard stands uniquely positioned to support the FTU, with experienced instructors and maintainers well versed on the platform,” they continued. “We ask that you give full consideration to Joint Base Langley-Eustis as a host to this mission.”
Built to accommodate three squadrons, Joint Base Langley-Eustis is currently underutilized, housing only two F-22 squadrons and supporting maintenance units. Moving the F-22 FTU would advance an important recommendation put forward by the Government Accountability Office, which has emphasized the need for improving aircraft availability by consolidating the fleet into larger squadrons or wings.
In addition to Sens. Warner and Kaine, the letter was signed by Reps. Bobby Scott, Robert Wittman, Gerry Connolly, Morgan Griffith, Don Beyer, A. Donald McEachin, Ben Cline, Elaine Luria, Abigail Spanberger, Denver Riggleman, and Jennifer Wexton.