The crown jewel of national defense assets in northeast Indiana is the 122nd Fighter Wing. For decades the men and women of the Indiana Air National Guard who served under this command have made a significant contribution to our national defense and our region. Jim Banks has served in the military and been deployed overseas - his experience makes Jim acutely aware of the importance of the Fort Wayne Air Guard base and the 122nd Fighter Wing to Indiana and the nation. After being elected to Congress, Jim's first priority for Baer Field and the people of northeast Indiana will be acquiring newer aircraft such as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and increasing the number of joint units and missions assigned to Baer Field.
Elect Jim to Congress and he will:
- Seek a seat on the House Armed Services Committee to closely monitor developments that may impact the 122nd, the Air Guard Base and northeast Indiana's regional defense cluster
- Join the House Air Force Caucus and the House National Guard and Reserve Components Caucus immediately following being sworn into office
- Establish and nurture personal relationships with the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force and Director of the Air National Guard beginning on Day One in Congress
- Work with colleagues to begin a bi-partisan effort to reverse the devastating cutbacks to our military and work to fund a Reagan-era military build-up in the 21st Century
- Use his experience to identify and target areas of wasteful military spending that distract from our mission and prevent resources from being deployed where they can best support our national defense
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the 122nd's assignment to the Indiana Air National Guard. Over the last seven decades, members of the 122nd have made important contributions to our state and our national defense. Moving from Indianapolis to Fort Wayne in 1954, their presence in our region has lived up to every inch of their storied past during World War II. Members of the 122nd have increasingly served in more combat zone assignments across the Middle East and Asia since the terrorist attacks on our country in 2001.
The importance of the 122nd to our region has always been clear to Jim. In 2014, he authored Senate Enrolled Act 260, which was signed into law by Governor Mike Pence. This law empowers communities to support local military facilities whether they are in danger of closing or need capital improvements to remain viable.
The impact could not be more clear... the Fort Wayne Air Guard base supports over 1,000 jobs in the region and has an estimated economic impact of $58 million dollars. The presence of the 122nd also provides an anchor for our regional defense cluster - thousands of jobs in northeast Indiana that help make the lives of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and coast guardsmen safer.
Fort Wayne International Airport has important structural assets, including one of the longest runways in the region, capable of supporting very large aircraft. This combined with the significant support for reserves in northeast Indiana provide an important bulwark against efforts to alter the mission of the 122nd or to reduce the defense capabilities at the Fort Wayne Air National Guard Base.
In spite of these advantages, our region must remain vigilant and our next Congressman must continue to monitor these changes and advocate for our local base and fighter wing. It was just a few years ago that President Obama wanted to strip fighter planes from Ft. Wayne and replace them with MC-12 aircraft.
Jim will be focused on standing up for our air guard base and the men and women who serve there to defend our country. Join Team Banks to help send him to Washington so we can be sure we have the best qualified advocate for our region in office.
- IN.gov - SEA 260 (2014)
- WFYI.org - Bill Would Give Communities Options To Save Military Installations
- JimBanks.us - National Defense