Warner & Kaine Praise Air Force Approval to Permanently House F-22 Training Unit in Hampton Roads
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine released the following statement after the Acting Secretary of the U.S. Air Force, John P. Roth, approved Joint Base Langley-Eustis (JBLE) in Hampton as the final location for the F-22 Formal Training Unit (FTU):
“After years of advocating alongside the Virginia congressional delegation, we’re pleased that the U.S. Air Force has confirmed what we already knew: Hampton Roads is the ideal location to permanently house the F-22 training squadron. We look forward to working with the U.S. Air Force and the Virginia Air National Guard to make sure the relocation process is a smooth one for the servicemembers and their families that will now make the Commonwealth their new home.”
Senators Warner and Kaine have long championed making Joint Base Langley-Eustis (JBLE) the final location for the F-22 Formal Training Unit (FTU). In February 2019, Warner and Kaine were joined by every member of the Virginia congressional delegation in a letter urging then-U.S. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson to relocate the F-22 Flight and Maintenance Formal Training Units (FTU) to Joint Base Langley-Eustis. Originally located at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida, which was heavily damaged by Hurricane Michael in October of 2018, the squadron was temporarily held at Eglin Air Force Base, awaiting a decision as to where it would be housed permanently.
Built to accommodate three squadrons, Joint Base Langley-Eustis was underutilized, housing only two F-22 squadrons and supporting maintenance units. Warner and Kaine urged the Air Force to move the F-22 FTU to JBLE to 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 March 2019, Warner and Kaine released a statement applauding the U.S. Air Force announcement that it had recommended relocating the F-22 Flight and Maintenance Formal Training Unit (FTU) to Joint Base Langley-Eustis.