Posted September 14, 2018 07:59:57As the US Navy prepares to leave the country and the American people have their jobs in limbo, the Air Force has started the process of transitioning out of its Air Force One fleet.
The Air Force is closing its Air National Guard base at Peterson Air Force Base, in Virginia, and shifting its entire air force into the new Joint Global Strike Command.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh told reporters at a press conference in the Pacific, “We’ve got to have a transition that will put all our people back to work, not just the Air National Guardsmen, but the Air Corps, the entire Air Force.”
“I know that’s going to be a challenging process,” Welsh said.
“We’re going to have to work very hard to get through that transition.”
The move is the result of President Donald Trump’s directive to reduce the number of active-duty and Reserve Air Force personnel by about 50 percent, a reduction that will come into effect in 2019.
The service, which has over 2,200 active-capable service members, has been unable to keep up with the shift, according to a report from Bloomberg.
In December, the service announced it was ending the military’s only Reserve Air Wing at Peterson, which was responsible for training, equipping, and assisting its reserve members in the air force.
A military spokesman declined to comment on whether the Air Guard plans to relocate its entire force to Peterson, saying the service had not made a decision.
But the spokesman said the Air Base, which opened in 1978, had been used by the service for a long time, and would be open again when the service is finished with its air force service.
Welsh did not address the possibility of a new Air Force base being established in the near future.
However, he said that the service would continue to conduct airlift missions out of Peterson and would continue using Peterson as a launch site for the Air Global Strike program.
Air Force One is expected to begin flying again at Peterson in 2019, but it will be operated by the Air Reserve and the service will no longer fly Air Force 1 out of the base.
In 2016, a temporary airfield at Peterson was opened for the Navy’s Carrier Strike Capability, which is a new version of the Airborne Early Warning and Control System, or AV-CYCS.
The AV-CMCS is expected for deployment on the carrier aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt in 2019 and 2020.