McMorris Rodgers, Murray Urge Air Force Secretary to Select Fairchild AFB as Home for KC-46 Tankers

Washington, D.C. (July 29, 2021) – Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) today congratulated Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall on his recent confirmation and urged him to give Fairchild Air Force Base his full consideration when selecting the next home for the KC-46 tanker fleet.

With the recent conclusion of the Air Force’s site survey at Fairchild, the lawmakers took the opportunity to continue advocating for Fairchild AFB in the strategic basing process, highlighting a few of the things that make Fairchild the ideal home for the KC-46 tankers.

“Deserving the utmost consideration is Fairchild’s strategic location. As the world’s largest air refueling base with strategic proximity to China, Taiwan, the Korean peninsula, and Russia, Fairchild is best located to support military actions to protect the United States and its allies from future adversarial threats,” they wrote in the letter.

They continued, “Another important factor to consider is the culture and leadership at Fairchild. Whenever we visit the base, we are struck by how passionate the airmen are about the air refueling mission. Airmen and their families are valued and respected, and base leadership goes above and beyond to make sure servicemembers receive the highest levels of support and general care.”

They concluded, “Finally, the level of community support enjoyed by the base cannot be understated. As the largest employer in the area, accounting for around 13% of Eastern Washington’s economy, Fairchild is the lifeblood of the Spokane and Airway Heights communities.”

In the letter, the lawmakers also requested to work with Secretary Kendall on an opportunity in the coming weeks for stakeholders in the Spokane and Airway Heights communities to hear directly from him about the selection process and criteria for consideration. 

CLICK HERE to read the full letter.

NOTE: Following the announcement in May that the current KC-135 tanker fleet at Fairchild Air Force Base could be retired, Cathy went to work advocating for Fairchild Air Force Base (AFB) to station the new KC-46A refueling tanker fleet. She has met and spoken directly with Forward Fairchild, members of Fairchild AFB leadership, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations Robert E. Moriarty. The Secretary of the Air Force is expected to select the preferred base by the end of this year. 


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