For 70 years there has been an uninterrupted Air Force mission at Truax Field in Madison, Wisconsin. From the F-51 Mustangs first assigned to the squadron at its formation in 1948, to becoming the first Air National Guard unit to fly a modern jet fighter with the F- 89A Scorpion mission in the 1950s, to the F-102s in the 1960s-70s and the A-10 Thunderbolt in the 1980s.
In 1992, following the unit receiving the first “OUTSTANDING” rating ever given to any fighter unit for a Unit Effectiveness Inspection and numerous other Outstanding Unit Awards, the Fighter Wing began converting to the F-16 Fighting Falcons.
The F-16s currently assigned to the 115th Fighter Wing are the F-16 Block 30 aircraft, the oldest operational F-16s in the Air Force. The F-35 is considered to be the Air Force’s replacement for the early model F-16 aircraft, which are expected to be retired in the 2020’s. In April 2016, the Air Force identified 18 Air National Guard bases which operate 4th Generation fighters (F-15, F-16 & A-10) as candidate bases for an F-35 mission. In December 2016, Truax Air National Guard Base was named as one of the 5 candidates which would be further evaluated along with sites in Boise (ID), Selfridge (MI), Jacksonville (FL) and Montgomery (AL).
On December 21st, 2017 the United States Air Force selected Truax Field Air National Guard Base, Wisconsin as one of two preferred location for the next two Air National Guard F-35A bases. Dannelly Field in Montgomery, Alabama, was the other location selected.
“Selecting Truax Field and Dannelly Field will increase Air National Guard F-35A units providing 5th Generation airpower around the world,” said Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson. “As F-35As arrive at these locations, we will use the existing aircraft at these fields to replace the aging F-16s at other Air National Guard units.”
At this time, the Air Force expects the F-35As to begin arriving at Truax Field in early 2023 and at Dannelly Field later that year.
These locations remain preferred alternatives until the secretary of the Air Force makes the final basing decisions after the requisite environmental analysis is complete.
The 115th Fighter Wing makes significant contributions to the local and state economy:
- The 115th Fighter Wing employs over 1,200 civilian and military employees and has a payroll of approximately $62 million
- The 115th Fighter Wing supports 1,650 in-state jobs and has an annual economic impact of around $100 million
- The 115th Fighter Wing provides over $1 million in annual tuition payments to local colleges helping Airmen return into the private sector workforce with an undergraduate degree, 6 years of on the job training in a diverse array of highly technical career fields
Over the last seven decades, the 115th Fighter Wing has made numerous contributions to our state and region. Receiving the F-35 mission will ensure that these contributions and many more to come, will remain for decades to come.
To learn more about the EIS process, please visit the official Air National Guard Bureau website for the F-35A Operational Beddown at http://www.angf35eis.com
What elected officials are saying:
“This is outstanding news for the State of Wisconsin,” Governor Scott Walker said. “I commend the Air Force's decision to select Truax Air National Guard Station as the next home for the F-35A Lightning II and the vital mission that the USAF's most advanced fighter aircraft will perform. The Air Force recognized Truax's unrivaled capabilities, meeting or exceeding all the necessary requirements for the mission, and the broad community support for the Wisconsin Air National Guard from the State of Wisconsin, the City of Madison and Dane County in making their announcement.”
“This is great news for the future of the Wisconsin Air National Guard, the employees of Truax Field, and all of southern Wisconsin,” said Sen. Johnson. “I applaud the Air Force for recognizing the strategic importance of our state, and I look forward to Wisconsin playing a major role as the Air Force modernizes and enhances its capabilities to keep America safe and secure.”
"Congratulations to the dedicated men and women of the 115th Fighter Wing on your selection to be a preferred location for an Air National Guard F-35 squadron. I am pleased that the US Air Force recognized the tremendous strategic, geographic and economic capabilities that Truax offers. The 115th Fighter Wing plays an essential role in protecting the safety and security of Wisconsin and our nation. Having represented and advocated on behalf of the base for more than 17 years in Congress, I am excited about Truax’s selection for this new mission and the enduring economic benefit it will provide to our community and the State of Wisconsin."
“This is a big day for Wisconsin’s military community and the whole region. The Air Force agrees that the great men and women of the Wisconsin Air National Guard are uniquely prepared to host the F-35. This decision boosts the Truax base, which is already such an integral part of the area, and contributes a great deal to our national security.
I want to congratulate all the people in the community who worked tirelessly to make this possible, but most importantly the men and women of the 115th Fighter Wing, who represent us with integrity and excellence every single day.”
“I commend the Air Force for selecting Truax Field as one of the future homes for the F-35A. This decision confirms our Wisconsin National Guard, the 115th Fighter Wing, possesses the capabilities and strategic location worthy of such an elite fleet.
“Members of the Wisconsin congressional delegation signed a letter in support of Truax Field during the basing selection process, and I applaud the Air Force, Wisconsin National Guard and 115th leadership, Madison and Dane County officials and Gov. Walker for working tirelessly on this move that will benefit our entire state. We’re proud that a number of these next-generation fighters will call Wisconsin home!”
"As governor of Wisconsin, none of my duties brought me more pride than being commander-in-chief of our Wisconsin National Guard. Over the course of our history, and especially since the attacks of September 11th, our National Guard has been asked to make enormous sacrifices. Each time, they have responded with the same professionalism and courage that makes our state and our country so proud. Today’s announcement by the United States Air Force of the 115th Fighter Wing being chosen for an F-35 mission is further recognition of their exemplary service and professionalism and a further sense of pride for the Madison community and our state. Congratulations on another job well done!”
“Congratulations to the Airmen and Airwomen of the 115th Fighter Wing on your selection as the preferred location for an F-35 squadron. The Wisconsin Air National Guard is important to the defense of the nation and gives an economic boost to Dane County and the State of Wisconsin."
“The men and women who work at the Truax Air National Guard base support our country and our community--their children attend our schools, support our local businesses, live in our neighborhoods, and are an important part of our community. This announcement ensures that the Truax Air National Guard base will continue to be a bedrock of our community. Congratulations and thank you to the men and women of the 115th Fighter Wing.”
“Congratulations to my former colleagues at the 115th Fighter Wing on your selection to be a preferred location for the Air National Guard F-35 mission. As a former fighter pilot stationed at Truax and as the State Senator who represents the airport and the base, I know the value to the community of hosting the F-35 mission and also the value to the members of the 115th of the community support for that mission. The 115th Fighter Wing’s dedication to excellence and the support of our community, helped them rise above the other contenders for this mission. Congratulations!"
“On behalf of the City of Madison, congratulations to the 115th Fighter Wing on your selection to be a preferred location for the Air National Guard F-35 mission. The economic impact that the 115th Fighter Wing of the Air National Guard plays in Madison and the surrounding area is immense, and by securing this ongoing mission for decades to come, will only continue to multiply that impact.”