KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. -- Representative Greg Walden hosted a very powerful & influential congressman at Kingsley Air Base in Klamath Falls Wednesday. House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry toured the base and spoke with representatives about everything Kingsley and Klamath Falls has to offer.
Their hope is that the base will become the future home of the F-35. Kingsley is currently the only training base in the country for the F-15, but the planes are old and in need of an update.
Colonel Jeff Smith is the 173rd Fighter Wing Commander. He described his feelings about the F-15. "She's a great beast, a great combat bird," he remarked. "But she's old and she's tired and it's probably time to pivot to the future."
Rep. Walden described his reasons for arranging the visit. "We have great weather conditions, great flying space, excellent place to train with enormous community support," Walden explained. "It's a jewel. I felt really compelled to make sure the armed services committee chairman gets an opportunity to see first hand and hear first hand about the enormous asset America has right here in the Klamath Basin."
Rep. Thornberry said he could see just how much the community supported Kingsley Air Base. He said this is perhaps the most important component when making future decisions.
"Whether we ever consider another round of base closings or what not, that community support for the military and the mission that putting arms around the men and women who are our most valuable asset," he said. "That's a key asset for any base."