Terri Sewell: A defining legacy of excellence worth protecting — the 187th Air National Guard Fighter Wing

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Alabama is a state rich with tradition and legacies of excellence. Yet, one that stands out is the legacy of military excellence exhibited by the 187th Air National Guard Fighter Wing, located at Dannelly Field in Montgomery, Alabama.

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Rep. Terri Sewell visits the 187th Air National Guard Fighter Wing, located at Dannelly Field in Montgomery, Alabama. [Photo courtesy of Rep. Terri Sewell]

The 187th Air National Guard Fighter Wing has an unparalleled legacy of excellence worthy of praise and worth protecting for the future. Currently, the guard unit is a prime candidate to fly the new F-35A Lightning II fighter jets, known as the Joint Strike Fighter. The 187th currently flies the oldest F-16s in the U.S. Air Force’s inventory; however, it is among eighteen Air National Guard units competing for the coveted new aircraft.

The Alabama delegation in Congress is unanimous and steadfast in our support of the 187th Air National Guard Fighter Wing winning this new assignment. Nothing helps us make the case more than the long history of outstanding military service that has been the proud legacy of the 187th

The 187th Fighter Wing has a proven combat track record and an unparalleled military heritage. It is home to the 100th Fighter Squadron – the famed “Red Tails.” This squadron’s linage traces back to World War II and the renowned Tuskegee Airmen, America’s first black military pilots and support personnel.

The 187th benefits from being a key strategic resource – only five miles from Maxwell Air Force Base, and twenty-five minutes flying time from Eglin, Tyndall, Hurlburt, and Moody Air Force Bases. This presents numerous opportunities for joint air-to-air and air-to-ground training. F-35 pilots of the 187th may also utilize the electronic ranges on Eglin AFB. This is all contingent, however, on the unit being outfitted with the new fighter jets.

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Rep. Terri Sewell visits the 187th Air National Guard Fighter Wing. [Photo courtesy of Rep. Terri Sewell]

During my tenure in office, I have been and will continue to be a stalwart advocate for this vital national resource located in my district. As a Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, I have a unique perspective on the challenges and opportunities that confront our nation. I am also keenly aware that the world we live in is filled with potential threats that are constantly developing and changing. We have to remain ever vigilant and be prepared to not only confront ongoing threats but those emerging as well. A major key to our success requires that we maintain air-superiority and provide effective air- cover for our men and women deployed in combat zones. This is the defining legacy of the 187th from World War II to today.

Given its rich history and superior service to this nation, the 187th Air National Guard Fighter Wing stands poised and well-equipped to bring the next generation of air power to the Alabama Air National Guard.

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Rep. Terri A. Sewell (D-AL) is beginning her fourth term representing Alabama’s 7th Congressional district. She is a member of the exclusive House Committee on Financial Services and the distinguished House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence where she serves as the Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on the Department of Defense Intelligence and Overhead Architecture.  Rep. Sewell is a Chief Deputy Whip and sits on the prestigious Steering and Policy Committee of the Democratic Caucus.  She serves as a member of the Congressional Black Caucus and is Vice Chair of Outreach for the New Democrat Coalition.

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