F-35A Lightning II is the Air Force’s latest and most-capable fifth-generation fighter
Salem, OR—Today, Governor Tina Kotek announced that the Secretary of the U.S. Air Force has selected Kingsley Field Air National Guard Base as the sole host of the F-35A Lightning II Fighter Wing training squadron. Kingsley Field Air National Guard Base is the home base of the Oregon Air National Guard's 173rd Fighter Wing. The F-35A is the Air Force’s latest and most-capable fifth-generation fighter.
“Kingsley Field Air National Guard Base is a point of pride for Oregonians,” Governor Kotek said. “The Secretary’s decision affirms the Oregon Military Department’s unwavering commitment to excellence in training and readiness, while providing for the successful future of the Air National Guard and the United States Air Force. I am grateful to Oregon’s congressional delegation for collaborating in Washington to help today come to fruition.”
The decision becomes final when the Secretary of the Air Force signs a Record of Decision upon favorable completion of an Environmental Impact Statement on the proposal now underway.
The F-35A Lightning II provides next-generation stealth capabilities to the U.S. and many U.S. ally and partner nations with its aerodynamic performance, advanced integrated avionics, enhanced situational awareness and increased survivability. The F-35A is considered the cornerstone of the future fighter fleet and guarantees the long-term viability of the 173rd Fighter Wing in Oregon and continuation of its vital air superiority mission for many years to come. The decision to place the F-35A training squadron at Kingsley Field supersedes the previous announcement in 2020 that placed the F-15EX Eagle II training base here.
“General Brown, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, endlessly advocates a culture of modernization. This decision to bring F-35’s to Oregon delivers leading edge technology to Kingsley Field in support of this effort and provides for the future and the long-term success of the United States Air Force,” said Maj. Gen. Mike Stencel, Adjutant General, Oregon. “The positive partnership with the community of Klamath Falls and the Oregon Air National Guard will continue and remain fruitful for decades to come.”
“Kingsley Field is an integral piece of the Air Force’s modernization plan,” said Col. Lee Bouma, 173rd Fighter Wing commander. “Our vast airspace, a culture of excellence, and unprecedented community support make us a viable fit to continue our legacy of training the next generation of fighter pilots.”
A U.S. Air Force F-35A Lightning II aircraft assigned to Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, flies off the wing of a F-15C Eagle assigned to the 173rd Fighter Wing, May 17, 2023 in the skies above Southern Oregon. Photo credit: U.S. Air National Guard Sgt. Penny Snoozy.