FORT WORTH – Lead Appropriations Committee Republican Kay Granger (R-TX) toured Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base (NAS JRB) Fort Worth, conducting oversight on several of the base’s key units and meeting with the base’s new Commander, Navy Captain Mark McLean. During her visit, Congresswoman Granger was pleased to meet with leadership from the Air Force Reserve’s 301st Fighter Wing and the Texas Air National Guard’s 136th Airlift Wing, see firsthand the importance of her efforts to help both units compete for upgraded aircraft to replace their aging fleets, and discuss the base’s importance to U.S. national security. After the tour, Congresswoman Granger, Colonel Allen Duckworth of the 301st Fighter Wing, and Major General Dawn M. Ferrell, Deputy Adjutant General of the Texas Air National Guard released the following statements:
“The story of Fort Worth is the story of our nation’s defense. In addition to supporting our local economy and domestic innovation, the NAS JRB Fort Worth—America’s first-ever Joint Reserve base—plays an indispensable role in our national security,” said Congresswoman Granger. “While Mayor of Fort Worth, I proudly led the crusade to have the base realigned as a Joint Reserve Base, and saw it grow even larger than it was when the hearings to close it were held. Today, it is humbling to see how the base and its nearly 11,000 military personnel and their families continue to support our great nation’s defense and the future of American airpower.
“Our servicemembers deserve the most effective, cutting-edge aircraft, and I am proud to have helped bring the newest models to NAS JRB Fort Worth. The Texas Air National Guard’s 136th Airlift Wing is a strong competitor to receive the next batch of Lockheed Martin C-130J aircraft that I ensured was funded through my leadership on the House Appropriations Committee. It was an honor to meet with the hard working men and women of the 136th today, and to see firsthand how these aircraft support our national defense through global operations and how the new planes would be used to support emergency response efforts across our great state.
“Underlining our city’s role as America’s leading defense hub is the F-35 fighter jet—the pride of Fort Worth—which is manufactured by Lockheed Martin right across the JRB’s runway. I’m so pleased to see that the base is taking the important steps to prepare for the F-35 to replace the aging F-16s used regularly by the Air Force Reserve’s 301st Fighter Wing. For years, I have urged the Air Force to recapitalize its fighter fleet with more F-35s, and I was proud to speak with the men and women of the 301st, who are actively preparing to receive the world’s most lethal combat aircraft.
“Today’s visit gave me greater insight into the needs of our soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen, and I will continue to be NAS JRB Fort Worth’s staunchest advocate.”
Col. Duckworth said of the tour, “I welcome opportunities for our Congresswoman to gain a better understanding of our diverse missions and the people that conduct them. Our Airmen, both military and civilian, do an incredible job of keeping this wing ready to defend our nation. The near future may hold even more opportunity, as we await a historical decision on the location for Air Force Reserve Command’s first 5th generation fighter, the F-35. It has been an honor to be considered, and we are hopeful that the 301st Fighter Wing will soon welcome its seventh fighter aircraft.”
Major General Ferrell of the Texas Air National Guard echoed these points, saying “Congresswoman Granger has been steadfast in her support of the National Guard, and has been a critical element in our fight to maintain force structure. She has been our voice when we needed one, and the Texas National Guard, and the National Guard force as a whole, is deeply grateful to her.
“The future supremacy of the United States Military requires expedited modernization and innovation. Congresswoman Granger sees the urgency with which we must act if we are to remain a leader in all domains – air, land, sea, space, and cyberspace.”
Please contact the office of Congresswoman Granger for photos and additional information.