By Dana Kazel
The St. Louis County Board unanimously approved a resolution of support for the 148th Fighter Wing and its efforts to receive the new F-35 aircraft. Having the new aircraft at the 148th’s base in Duluth is seen as a way to guarantee the group’s continued viability long into the future.
The Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Committee, which includes business and civic leaders from throughout the region, will be traveling to Washington, D.C. next week to encourage Congress and military leadership to support the continued advancement of the base by identifying them as appropriate recipients of the F-35 aircraft. The County Board’s resolution of support will be among the information presented to show the widespread community support for the 148th.
Receiving F-35 aircraft will help secure their place in consideration of what bases should continue to be supported well into the future. Speaking to the Board, Col. Rob Troy, aircraft maintenance director for the 148th, said, “This push to get the F-35 is important for our continued sustainability. It pushes us a lot farther into the future which gives us more viability.”
The 148th is one of the largest employers in the area, and provides an estimated $94 million annually of direct expenditure to the region.