U.S. Rep. Jodey Arrington and fellow Republican and Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Mac Thornberry, visited Dyess Air Force Base yesterday to hear from airmen and learn more about their needs. The congressmen toured a C-130J Super Hercules and a B-1B Lancer.
“This was a big day for West Texas and for Abilene and Dyess,” Arrington said. “The Chairman has tremendous demands on his time, bases and military facilities all around the world and he chose to spend his time with us today.”
Thornberry asked airmen questions about readiness, deployment length and training. He said the Air Force is currently short on personnel because of budget cuts to the military.
“We’ve gotten testimony earlier this year that the Air Force is about 1500 pilots short, 3,000 to 4,000 maintainers short,” Thornberry said. “Just talking to some of these folks [at Dyess] they’re working hard because there’s not enough people in the Air Force and we’re trying to do everything the Air Force asks us to help rectify that problem, to help grow the size of the Air Force.”
Thornberry said he’s working to reverse budget cuts and improve the readiness of the Air Force by providing the best equipment and advanced avionics.
“There’s never been a time where the missions of Dyess are more important to our national security than right now,” Thornberry said as he mentioned that the the B-1 was used to send a message to Kim Jong-un recently that the U.S. is serious about defense.
Arrington also emphasized the need for the Air Force to grow and said Dyess is in a good position to compete for the B-21 bomber when it becomes available.