188th Gets Federal Money In Transition To Drones

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A recently-passed federal bill includes funding for the 188th Fighter Wing Air National Guard’s transition to drones.

The $40 million will be divided among several similar types of units, said Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.).

Pryor said part of that money will pay for six Air National Guard squadrons, including the 188th Fighter Wing's to switch over to the M-Q-9 drones.

“The 188th will get a good chunk of that,” Pryor said. “But also there's money here for training, equipment. And both of those are critical.”

Ashley McFaul and her boyfriend moved to Fort Smith all the way from Maryland for the 188th.

"I came to Fort Smith in hopes that the drone mission would stay in Fort Smith, so that my significant other would keep his job," McFaul said.

The couple said the 188th is their home.

"I'm just happy that we get to stay," she said.

McFaul said the number of jobs that will stay in the area is exciting as well.

“There is no question that a healthy and productive 188th adds jobs and keeps jobs in this community,” Pryor said.

As McFaul and her family celebrate the news, they remain thankful they won't be heading back to Maryland anytime soon.

Pryor is up for re-election in November. So far, Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) is his only announced opposition.

The switch over is scheduled to be complete by fiscal year 2020.


  • Michael

    I agree with Elaphas. Political ploy by Pryor. !88th will be much smaller. Lots of Airmen have or will lose their jobs. Its a shame that President Bill Clinton could have taken action to prevent Arkansas from losing all our bases and jobs, but he didn’t. Blytheville AFB gone, JRTC moved to Louisiana, what’s left of Fort Chaffee turned over to the national guard, 90th RSC Headquarters moved to California, Little Rock AFB down sized to a fourth of what it was, 188th’s mission moved to California and its fighter jets shipped out. This is thousands of jobs lost or moved out of state and many thousands of soldiers that use to come to Arkansas to train now going to California, Louisiana and other states. My question, how many employees did the 188th have before and how many will they have with new mission? I’m pretty much done watching all the pro liberal reporting of channel 5.

  • Sarah 1

    To Republicans in Arkansas: Be content the 188th remains. If you want the Democratic support of the upper echelons of government, then give your support to Democrats. Politics 101 – this is how it works.

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