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‘Together Truax’ Campaign Looks To Build Public Support For F-35 Fighters In Madison

Website Highlights Economic Activity, Security Benefits For Housing New Stealth Fighters In Wisconsin

F-35A Lightning II
F-35A Lightning II. Samuel King Jr. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

There’s a new public campaign to help bring advanced stealth fighter planes to Wisconsin’s National Guard base in Madison.

The Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce launched the Together Truax branding campaign Monday.

Chamber President Zach Brandon said the campaign highlights the 1,200 jobs and $100 million in economic activity a year that would continue if the Air Force chooses to house the F-35A fighters at Truax.

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But, he said, the initiative also seeks to demonstrate the unique security benefits the United States military would see by using all of Wisconsin’s air installations.

“You have the refueling wing at General Mitchell (Airport) in Milwaukee, and you also have the training range at Volk Field and some ancillary operations at Fort McCoy, that creates a unique airspace and a unique training opportunity, not just for aircraft from Wisconsin but aircraft from the rest of the country,” Brandon said.

The campaign, which consists of a website and social media presence, aims to increase community support for the bid and address local concerns about airplane noise, Brandon said.

While bringing advanced stealth fighter planes to Truax Field would continue to bring additional economic benefits, it would not lead to additional noise, Brandon said, because F-35 training requires less flight time than the F-16s now in use.

“They do a significant portion of their training on the ground in advanced $11 million simulators,” Brandon said. “It will reduce the number of takeoffs at the airport from the military, which is good for those that have a sensitivity to the airport sound.”

The US Air Force chose Truax Field last month as one of five finalists for the F-35s.

It’s set to choose two bases to house the fighter this year, with the new planes arriving in 2022 or 2023.