February 23, 2010 (by Asif Shamim) - Kirtland Air Force Base will lose 18 ANG F-16Cs from the 188th Fighter Squadron & hundreds of jobs as part of the federal government's plan to cut its fighter fleet.
USAF F-16C block 30 #87-0304 from the 188th FS is spotted taxiing by the lens at Kirtland AFB in September of 2007. [Photo by Henrik]
By the end of this autumn the USAF will have reduced its fighter fleet by 250 jets. The first jets begin to leave as of April 1st and the government hopes the last will be retired by the end of September.
The hope is that some of the money saved will allow the USAF to purchase new aircraft such as the F-35.
Retired Col. Charlie Thomas a military analyst and former Kirtland base commander was quoted to have said the impact of the F-16s will also affect people working at the base and local area.
"There's about a thousand or so positions that are really going to go away," said Thomas. "It's tough on the morale, especially for the people involved, so there's a lot of decisions that have to be made over time now."
Thomas said change is to be expected when you work in the Air Force.
"It is unfortunate that we lose a flying mission that everybody has loved, but that's just what's happening," said Thomas. "We're bringing down the size of the Air Force and the number of planes that we have."