UPDATE - February 20, 2018, 10:53am
KINGSLEY FIELD, Oregon -- The City of Klamath Falls demonstrated an unprecedented level of community support for the 173rd Fighter Wing, Oregon Air National Guard, by extending the lease on the airfield property until 2095 -- the longest lease in the U.S. Air Force.
In a ceremony at Kingsley Field, Jan. 19, 2018, city officials expressed their appreciation for the unique mission of the wing and expressed the desire for its continued success into the next century.
"The partnership is one that works well and we believe it will make our community one of the best places to live and work and be part of," said Klamath Falls Mayor Carol Westfall.
U.S. Representative Greg Walden added that the lease benefits both the community and the Oregon Air National Guard.
"The signing of this lease extension exemplifies how our community in the basin has embraced the Guard's mission, supports our men and women in uniform, and benefits from the base's investment back into the community," Walden said.
This lease extension adds a capstone to recent improvements including a new airspace expansion which brings the total area to 11,300 square miles, making it among the largest test and training ranges in the U.S. Air Force.
This airspace expansion allows the opportunity for a fairly new concept in training -- use of a contracted adversary air (ADAIR) squadron which will serve to increase the number of sorties directly related to student training. This new ADAIR squadron of about six aircraft would simulate enemy aircraft during training sorties rather than requiring some of the F-15C's to fill the adversary role. This will free up more of the F-15C's for student training and allow the unit to graduate a larger number of new F-15C pilots for the Combat Air Forces.
The extended lease also helps solidify over $80M in planned construction projects in response to growth requirements such as the addition of nearly 100 active duty troops in an Active Association and the proposed addition of contract aircraft on the ramp. A new fire station is currently under construction and planned projects include a new fuel off-loading and on-loading station, a new corrosion control facility, ramp improvement construction, and many others.
During the ceremony speakers noted the litany of recent accomplishments have paved the way for both this unprecedented lease extension, and positioned Kingsley Field for the future.
"With its over 50,000 square-yards of ramp space, unrivaled support from the community, and four decades of fighter training culture, Kingsley Field is clearly a perfect home for the F-35, or any future training missions for that matter," added Walden.
The 173rd Fighter Wing is home to the sole F-15C formal training schoolhouse for the United States Air Force.
Press release from the Oregon Military Department
Original Article - February 19, 2018
Klamath Falls, Ore. - Today, in a ceremony to celebrate unprecedented lease between the City of Klamath Falls and the Department of Defense. Colonel Jeff Smith, Commander of the 173rd Fighter Wing announced the signing of a 50-year lease. A lease that will piggy back on an existing lease held between the city and the DOD.
"It is amazing...for the City of Klamath Falls, and for the City Council to reach out and say - not only do we honor your current lease to 2045 but we'll take you another 50 years, out to 2095," stated Colonel Jeff Smith, Commander 173rd Fighter Wing. "We have the longest lease, non-permanent, in the entire United States Air Force right now."
The City of Klamath Falls has demonstrating an unprecedented level of community support for the 173rd Fighter Wing, Oregon Air National Guard, and United States Air Force by extending the lease on the airfield property until 2095 -- another 77 years, the longest lease of any base in the country.
The event commemorated a number of initiatives that help the wing maintain the only F-15C formal schoolhouse in the U.S. Air Force, including the finalization of an airspace expansion initiative and plans to continue numerous construction projects on the base past the year 2020.