FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (March 8, 2018)
Contact: Erik Greenfield, Communications Manager, 608-443-1952 (office), 608-669-7884 (cell)
MADISON – Today the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce shared with the United States Air Force an initial list of more than 1,700 individuals who signed up to join Together Truax, an initiative co-led by the Chamber and Badger Air Community Council (BACC) dedicated to assisting the effort to base the F-35A aircraft at Madison’s Truax Field. The Air Force announced in December the selection of Truax, home of the 115th Fighter Wing of the Air National Guard, as one of two preferred sites to receive state-of-the-art, next-generation aircraft.
“With the active backing of more than 1,700 individuals through Together Truax, business leaders and a bipartisan coalition of federal, state and local elected officials, the F-35 basing at Truax Field already has strong support throughout Greater Madison and across Wisconsin,” said Chamber President Zach Brandon. “This community is proud to stand with the 1,200 men and women of the 115th Fighter Wing and the essential role they play in growing our economy, ensuring our national defense and providing vital services to our airport and college students.”
“The 115th Fighter Wing of the Wisconsin Air National Guard continues to receive unparalleled community support in carrying out its missions at Truax Field,” said Colonel (Ret.) Jeff “Ace” Wiegand, Executive Director of the BACC and former Wing Commander of the 115th Fighter Wing. “For the last 70 years there has been an uninterrupted Air Force mission at Truax Field, from when the F-51 Mustangs were 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 to 1970s, to the A-10 Thunderbolt in the 1980s, to the assignment of the F-16s in the early 1990s, to the announcement of the F-35 mission in December. This continuity of missions is not just a recognition of the legacy of excellence the Wing has established, but also a very strong recognition of the community that has supported the men and women of the Fighter Wing over the last seven decades.”
The 115th Fighter Wing is an important asset to the Greater Madison community and state of Wisconsin, generating $100 million in annual economic impact and giving $1 million in tuition assistance annually to hundreds of student Guard members. Equally important as the federal mission that the 115th Fighter Wing carries out are the domestic operations it provides for the State of Wisconsin. Those operations include supporting relief efforts during natural disasters, Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) response in all 72 counties in Wisconsin, a mobile ER, a Fatality Search and Recovery Team (FSRT) and RC-26 counter drug incident awareness assessment operations. The 115th also provides all emergency and fire services for Dane County Regional Airport, at a significant savings to the airport and county.
Truax is set to receive the jets in 2023, pending an environmental review and scoping process currently underway. As part of that process, there will be an Open House Information Session on March 8 from 5-8 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 4402 E. Washington Ave., where members of the public can learn more about the basing, the jet technology and the positive impact this will have on Greater Madison. While this event is not a public hearing, the public will have a chance to ask questions with Air Force officials. More information can be found at http://angf35eis.com/.
About Together Truax:
Launched in June 2016 by the Chamber, in partnership with the Badger Air Community Council, Together Truax is a program dedicated to assisting the effort to base the F-35A aircraft at Madison’s Truax Field. The initiative has included advocacy, marketing and lobbying, generating more than $100,000 in private investment and enlisting more than 2,100 supporters. More information can be found at togethertruax.com.
About the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce:
The Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business with nearly 1,300 organizations – ranging from one-person shops to corporations with more than 10,000 employees – working to bring the Greater Madison area to its full potential. The Greater Madison region is a leader in innovation. From cutting-edge technologies to distinctive retail shops to inventive services and products, our members vary greatly but are united by the region’s entrepreneurial spirit. More information can be found at greatermadisonchamber.com.