Spangdahlem may loose F-16 squadron
During his visit to Spangdahlem last week, U.S. Air Forces in Europe commander Gen. Roger A. Brady discussed a proposal to retire legacy fighters to fund a smaller and more capable force, as well as redistribute people for higher priority missions.
"The (Combat Air Forces) restructuring plan is driven by a need for us to free up funds to develop more capability largely in the CAF itself, which has to do with new weapons, missiles and small diameter bombs," General Brady said.
"What it amounts to is basically a squadron of F-16 Fighting Falcons out of Spangdahlem. So rather than having two squadrons of 21 primary assigned aircraft units, you will have one 24-PAA squadron in addition to the A-10 Thunderbolt II squadron," General Brady said.
The plan would include a possible reduction in Spangdahlem AB manpower authorizations by approximately 450, and 18 F-16s would be removed. Under the proposed plan, the Air Force could see a cost savings of about $355 million in fiscal 2010. Air Force officials would then be able to invest most of those funds in advanced capability modifications to remaining fighters and bombers.
"(Col. Tip Wight, the 52nd Fighter Wing commander) and other leaders here are working to make the move as smooth as possible," General Brady said.
"There is a lot going on at Spangdahlem, which includes the 52nd FW and the Air Mobility Command missions the base supports," he said. "Spangdahlem will continue to be important, both as a location for fighter aircraft as well as for mobility, but as we continue to look at where we have mission capability throughout Europe, Spangdahlem will be an important part of that plan. "We have some capability here that we don't have other places. (Base members) have repeatedly and continually demonstrated incredible combat capability down range. They are also extraordinarily important when they are home for partner building here, for assurance to the alliance, the reassurance of our allies and the U.S. commitment to NATO.