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Setting the Record Straight


September 12th, 2019


Contact: Chris “Desi” Arenz
Executive Director(608) 287-6208


Setting the Record Straight

Misinformation does not help us “to get it right”


MADISON – Badger Air Community Council Executive Director Chris “Desi” Arenz released the following statements to correct misinformation that has been spread in advance of tonight’s Environmental Impact Study (EIS) Public Meeting.

The F-35 mission maintains and enhances the economic impact of the 115thFighter Wing:

It is disingenuous to insinuate that the economic impact of the F-35 mission is just 64 jobs. The economic impact of this investment is the continuation of the $100 million of economic output, 1,200 existing jobs, 64 new jobs, 300-400 construction jobs, $90-$120 million in improvements to the airport, $1 million in tuition reimbursement annually… totals up to more than $3.3 billion in economic impact to the region over the lifetime of the F-35s. A flying mission only stays at an airbase with airplanes. So, it is not about only 64 jobs, it is about potentially losing another Oscar Mayer in Madison, GM in Janesville or Chrysler in Kenosha.


The F-35s are the replacement aircraft for the F-16s:

Truax is strategically an important base. That is true, and that is one of the reasons why the 115thFighter Wing, which flies the oldest F-16s in the Air Force, has been selected to receive the F-35s. The current F-16s have a shelf life that is expiring. And when the F-16s are fully retired, not every Air National Guard unit is getting F-35s. In fact, then US Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said the following when the Mayor of Burlington, Vermont (the first Air National Guard base selected to receive F-35s) asked her about alternate missions for their Air National Guard in 2018;

Secretary Wilson wrote;

 “We expect the first F-35 aircraft to arrive in Burlington in 2019. This decision was finalized in 2013 after a 48-month review which assessed 205 locations and concluded that the Burlington International Airport was the best Air National Guard option. If that decision were to be reversed, the Vermont Air National Guard would likely lose their flying mission upon the retirement of the F-16s. The Air Force is much smaller than it was at the end of the Cold War. We have fewer bases and fewer aircraft. As a result, some states no longer have flying missions for their National Guard and the competition to secure new missions is fierce.” (Source)

The EIS Represents the Maximum Potential Impact

Assertions that the EIS represents anything other than the maximum potential impact is irresponsible, especially as it relates to the noise contours. The modeling used to create those contours overestimates the potential impact of the F-35s for the following real-world flight operation reasons;

  • The noise contours are modelled  off the projected number of operations. The modeling in the EIS unnecessarily enlarges the area of the noise contours by assuming, falsely, that all flights will happen from Truax field, which never happens.
    • Historically 20% of flights occur elsewhere because of a training exercise outside of Madison or because of overseas deployments.
    • 10% of operations are cancelled due to inclement weather.
    • 10% of operations include a refueling by the KC-135s out of Milwaukee, which gives the wing an extra flight without the need for a takeoff from Milwaukee.
  • The modeling further assumes that an increase in flights will take place because the F-16s will need to maintain their alert mission while the F-35s arrive and the pilots become qualified on the aircraft. The noise contour represents two types of aircraft flying out of Truax. Once the alert mission is transferred to the F-35s, the F-16s will depart, and the noise contours will shrink further.

We believe the EIS process provides us as a community, along with the Air Force, and our local, state and federal elected officials, an opportunity to work together to propose solutions. Making unsubstantiated statements does nothing to further the community dialogue.

The 115th Fighter Wing has a 71-year history of being an active outstanding community partner, and we look forward to continuing this partnership into the future with the F-35 mission.


We encourage all members of the public to stay engaged in the EIS process by visiting www.angf35eis.comand attending the Open House and public meeting on September 12that the Alliant Energy Center.


September 12, 2019
Open House – 5 to 6:30 p.m.
Formal Presentation – 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Exhibition Hall at the Alliant Energy Center
1919 Alliant Energy Center Way, Madison, WI 53713


For additional information please visit the Together Truax website www.togethertruax.comto learn more about the community support for the mission. To learn more about the Badger Air Community Council please visit


About the BACC:

The Badger Air Community Council (BACC) was formed in 2012 by former members of the 115thFighter Wing and business and civic leaders, to act as a liaison organization between the community and the Fighter Wing. The BACC supports the mission ofthe 115th Fighter Wing by educating the public on the economic and social benefits of having the unit based in Madison while highlighting the contributions made by the more than 1,200 Airmen who serve there.

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