Menendez, Norcross Lead Delegation Support for Expanded Mission of NJ Air Guard’s 177th Fighter Wing

Menendez, Norcross Lead Delegation Support for Expanded Mission of NJ Air Guard’s 177th Fighter Wing

Lawmakers press Air Force for Atlantic City unit to be considered for new home base for F-35 Joint Strike Fighter

   

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez and U.S. Representative Donald Norcross (N.J.-01), the highest ranking member of the New Jersey delegation on the House Armed Services Committee, led the entire New Jersey congressional delegation today in urging the U.S. Air Force to consider the New Jersey Air National Guard 177th Fighter Wing to become the new home base for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.  The Air Force is set to announce its next round of basing decisions, and it is anticipated that Air National Guard Fighter Wings will be part of that selection process. 

“The 177th Fighter Wing in Egg Harbor Township at the Atlantic City International Airport is strategically situated halfway between Washington, DC and New York City.  The base is also a primary launching point for missions to Europe is located near Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst for active duty support functions, and has optimum weather conditions year round,” the lawmakers stated in a letter to Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett.  “We encourage your visit to the 177th Fighter Wing and express our strong support for the 177th Fighter Wing to be selected as a candidate base for the next round of basing decisions for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.” 

The bipartisan letter was cosigned by Sens. Menendez and Cory Booker, and Reps. Norcross, Jeff Van Drew (N.J.-02), Andy Kim (N.J.-03), Chris Smith (N.J.-04), Josh Gottheimer (N.J.-05), Frank Pallone, Jr. (N.J.-06), Tom Malinowski (N.J.-07), Albio Sires (N.J.-08), Bill Pascrell, Jr. (N.J.-09), Donald Payne Jr. (N.J.-10), Mikie Sherrill (N.J.-11) and Bonnie Watson Coleman (N.J.-12).

Aside from its strategic location, the delegation cited the 177th’s outstanding record of service to the nation’s national security and five active deployments over the past decade.  Additionally, they pointed to critical military construction investments for the 177th in recent years for providing the Air Force a low-cost transition to house the F-35s. 

“We believe that these qualities demonstrate strategic military value for the United States Air Force, and that 177th Fighter Wing is well positioned to be an ideal basing location for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter,” the letter concluded.

Full text of the letter is below and can be downloaded here.

Dear Secretary Barrett,

Recently, Governor Phil Murphy extended an invitation to you to visit the New Jersey Air National Guard 177th Fighter Wing and offered his support for the 177th Fighter Wing to be considered as a candidate for a basing location for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.    We encourage your visit to the 177th Fighter Wing and express our strong support for the 177th Fighter Wing to be selected as a candidate base for the next round of basing decisions for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

The 177th Fighter Wing in Egg Harbor Township at the Atlantic City International Airport is strategically situated halfway between Washington, DC and New York City.  The base is also a primary launching point for missions to Europe is located near Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst for active duty support functions, and has optimum weather conditions year round. 

The 177th Fighter Wing has established an outstanding record of service to our Nation.  The 119th Fighter Squadron has deployed five times over the past ten years including Iraq (2010), Afghanistan (2012), Korea (2014, 2017) and Homeland Defense (2019) for sensitive national security events.   Since 2001, the 119th Fighter Squadron along with the 177th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron has provided 24/7 fighter alert in support of US Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command

Critical military construction investments for the 177th Fighter Wing in recent years provide for low cost transition to prepare the Fighter Wing for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.   Runways provide 10,000 feet, with cables, lights approaches, and 24 hour control towers.   Indoor parking is available for 33 aircraft and 12,000 square feet of space is ready for Networked Simulators.  A newly constructed corrosion control fuel cell facility will provide for protected areas for fuel system maintenance and environmentally controlled area to wash aircraft and hangar space for corrosion treatment and repair.

We believe that these qualities demonstrate strategic military value for the United States Air Force, and that 177th Fighter Wing is well positioned to be an ideal basing location for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. 

Sincerely,

 

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