Next Fight is to Ensure ‘Vital Mission’ for 188th

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Members of Arkansas’ Congressional delegation on Wednesday said they are “extremely disheartened” about that a compromise on cuts in the U.S. defense budget do not include a plan to retain the A-10 mission for the 188th Fighter Wing.

The compromise would retain A-10 units in Michigan and Indiana, but not with the Fort Smith-based 188th. Arkansas’ delegation, to include U.S. Rep.-elect Tom Cotton, R-Dardanelle, said the Air Force decision to reduce A-10 units was not based “on a detailed analysis of cost-efficiency.”

Broad cuts in U.S. defense spending include the removal of the 20 A-10 Thunderbolt fighter planes from the 188th Fighter Wing in Fort Smith. The unit has almost 1,000 full- and part-time employees. The loss of the fighter mission is scheduled to be replaced with the unmanned Predator drone. The drones needed to analyze drone-driven data would not be based in Fort Smith, as the current plan is written according to Major Heath Allen with the 188th.

Following is the joint statement from members of Arkansas’ Congressional Delegation – Womack, Boozman, U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., and U.S. Reps. Rick Crawford, Tim Griffin, and Mike Ross.

“Late last night, the National Defense Authorization Act’s (H.R. 4310) final conference report was released. Unfortunately, we now know that language which would have prevented the United States Air Force (USAF) from ending the 188th Fighter Wing’s A-10 mission is not included in the final bill. Click here to read the full story from our partners at