/ Modified mar 9, 2016 6:38 p.m.

Air Force Secretary Praises Davis-Monthan and A-10

Secretary James makes first visit to the Tucson Air Force Base.


Air Force Secretary Deborah James met with base commanders and airmen stationed at Davis-Monthan Air Force base on Wednesday.

James praised both the A-10 and the C-130 Compass Call aircraft housed at the base.

Both planes were targeted for retirement by the Air Force, but Congress refused to let the Pentagon mothball the planes.

The A-10 was built as a Cold War Era “tank killer,” but has evolved into a plane specializing in close air support for ground troops. More than 80 of the planes are based at Davis-Monthan.

The C-130 Compass Call is an electronic war platform.

James blames money woes for attempting to ground the planes.

“It really comes down to budget," said James. "The reason for any of these proposals to retire the aircraft was budget. So you’ve all heard of sequestration and the budget control act, we have a respite from that this year.”

The Air Force announced earlier this year the A-10 will continue flying until at least 2022. The announcement came after A-10s from Davis-Monthan and other bases were sent to help fight the Islamic State.

During her visit, James also met the DM-50, a community support group. James said community support is paramount for keeping bases open.

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