Posted on July 12, 2007
U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker and U.S. Representative Lincoln Davis, along with Deputy Governor Stuart Brunson today met with General William Looney in Washington to promote Arnold Air Force Base in Tullahoma, Tenn., as the solid choice to house the Air Force’s new Common Battlefield Airmen Training (CBAT) Program. “Arnold Air Force Base is a perfect location to support the CBAT mission,” said Alexander. “Our conversation today was a productive step in supporting the community’s efforts to promote it. General Looney is a very thoughtful man and I’m confident that he understands the many benefits that Arnold and the Tullahoma community have to offer.” “There’s overwhelming support for this effort at all levels because the conditions exist for Arnold to become home to CBAT, virtually overnight,” said Corker. “Everything from the local schools, to housing and utilities, to the attendance at the hearing earlier this week shows that Arnold has the civilian infrastructure, facilities, and community support to provide a seamless startup for CBAT operations.” Davis relayed to General Looney that, “The excitement in Tennessee surrounding Arnold’s effort to host this program couldn’t have been more apparent then when a strong contingent of over 275 community leaders turned out to support CBAT and Arnold during a public hearing with Air Force officials earlier this week.” In addition, Davis said, “Arnold is a cost effective, logistical dream that would offer the Air Force a seamless transition.” "We are pleased to have the opportunity to meet with General Looney and his staff about Arnold Air Force Base and Tennessee,” Brunson said. “This is an exciting opportunity for our state and we are aggressively pursuing it." Congressman Davis and the Tennessee Congressional Delegation have been working in conjunction with various community leaders in Middle Tennessee and Governor Phil Bredesen on making sure Arnold lands CBAT since the summer of 2006. The program would train up to 14,440 airmen annually to improve their ground-based combat survival skills and would require 800 new, permanent full-time staff. An extensive environmental impact study of the three finalists to host the program shows Arnold as the only alternative that already has the prerequisite land space and doesn’t endanger any wetlands. Arnold, a 40,000 acre base in Coffee County, is the world’s premier flight simulation testing facility. Gen. William Looney, III is Commander, Air Education and Training Command, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas. As Commander, he is responsible for the recruiting, training and education of Air Force personnel. CBAT would fall under the Air Education and Training Command. A decision on where the new mission will land is expected by January 2008.