Local Reps. secure advanced aircraft for California Air National Guard

By The Leader Staff
Rep. David Valadao
Rep. David Valadao

Congressman David G. Valadao (CA-22), Speaker Kevin McCarthy (CA-20), Congressman Jim Costa (CA-21), and Senators Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla this week released a statement applauding the Air Force’s decision to provide the 144th Fighter Wing of the California Air National Guard with F-15EX fighter aircraft.

The decision follows the lawmakers’ September 2022 request to the Secretary of the Air Force, Frank Kendall.

In their request, the lawmakers stressed the local Wing’s importance to U.S. national security, given its strategic location near the Pacific and the importance of deterring China. The F-15EX will replace the current F-15C aircraft, which are nearing the end of their service.

 “In Congress, my most important duty is ensuring the safety of all Americans, including my constituents in the Central Valley,” said Valadao. “I am thrilled with the Air Force’s decision to provide our 144th Fighter Wing here in the Valley with updated aircraft to deter our adversaries. I will continue working to strengthen our national security and ensure the Valley has the resources they need.”

“Ensuring that the California Air National Guard’s 144th Fighter Wing has state-of-the-art aircraft is critical to performing its mission. That is why I am proud to have joined my California colleagues, especially Congressman Valadao, who advocated for the F-15EX fighter aircraft to be located at the Fresno Air National Guard Base,” said McCarthy. “I am pleased that the Air Force Secretary has listed our community as the preferred location, and I look forward to a final decision being made. I will continue to do all I can to ensure our Armed Forces have the resources to protect Central Valley families, Californians, and all Americans.”

“I’m pleased to see the Air Force’s commitment to the 144th Fighter Wing by replacing its aging jets with new, advanced F-15EX aircraft. I worked very hard with my Valley colleagues and the Fresno Mayor to get these fighters for the 144th to ensure it can continue executing its mission to defend the West Coast. This investment shows the Air Force recognizes the critical role of the 144th in protecting US national security in the Indo-Pacific and here at home,” said Costa.

“It’s great news that the Air Force announced that the 144th Fighter Wing of the California Air National Guard will get brand new F-15EX fighters pending an environmental review,” said Senator Feinstein. “I’m proud to have worked with my Senate and House colleagues to secure these new fighters. The F-15EX fighters will help the Guard continue its mission to protect Californians and ensure that the Fresno unit will remain a national asset for many years.”

“I am glad to see the U.S. Air Force select the 144th Fighter Wing at the Fresno Air National Guard Base as a location to receive next-generation fighter aircraft,” said Senator Padilla. “The upgrade of its fleet ensures that the 144th Fighter Wing has the necessary resources to continue to perform its critical Air Sovereignty Alert mission. I am proud of the Central Valley’s important role in protecting the homeland and enhancing our national air defense.”

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