McMorris Rodgers, Murray Disappointed By Air Force Decision on KC-46A Tanker Stationing

Spokane, Washington (December 21, 2021) – Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) today slammed the Air Force’s decision not to name Fairchild Air Force Base as the sixth main operating base for the KC-46A aerial refueling tanker.

“I am disappointed to hear that Fairchild Air Force Base was not selected to be the next home of the KC-46 tanker fleet. While this is not the news we were hoping for, I have no doubt that Fairchild will continue to serve as a center of excellence for the KC-135 fleet and play a critical role in refueling missions,” said Rodgers. “For years, I have advocated for the incredible men and women who serve selflessly on this base in Eastern Washington, and that work will continue. I look forward to working in a bipartisan way with Secretary Kendall and Senator Murray to ensure the base is secure and provide our airmen and women with the resources they need to accomplish their mission.”

In July, the lawmakers urged Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall to give Fairchild Air Force Base his full consideration when selecting the next home for the KC-46A tanker fleet. Throughout the summer, Cathy went to work advocating for the base, meeting and speaking directly with Forward Fairchild, members of Fairchild AFB leadership, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations Robert E. Moriarty.

“As one of the largest air-refueling tanker bases in the country, Fairchild Air Force Base already possesses the needed capacity and ability to accommodate KC-46A aerial refueling tankers—which makes the Air Force’s decision not to house the new KC-46A fleet at Fairchild all the more inexplicable,” said Murray. “I am incredibly disappointed with this decision, as the Air Force has once again chosen to overlook the clear capacity, location, and personnel advantages that make Fairchild the absolute best location for Main Operating Base Six. Let’s not mince words, the Air Force has made the wrong choice with regard to stationing our next generation of refueling tankers—and I want to know how this decision was reached. I am so proud of the airmen and all our servicemembers at Fairchild, and the surrounding community that consistently supports them. I will always fight for Fairchild and I will always fight to make sure that Fairchild gets the consideration and investment it deserves.”

During the previous round of tanker basing in 2017, Rodgers and Murray successfully pushed to relocate a squadron of KC-135s to Fairchild, and they also criticized the Air Force’s decision not to locate the KC-46A at Fairchild during the round of basing decisions in 2013.


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