162nd Fighter Wing Minuteman Committee

The 162nd Fighter Wing Minuteman Committee, Inc. was formed in 1993 by a group of local businessmen that were concerned about the future of the 162nd Fighter Wing of the Arizona Air National Guard. At that time, the Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force made the statement that all F-16 Fighting Falcon flight training should be done by the United States Air Force and not the Air National Guard. This would have meant a tremendous loss of jobs for the 162nd Fighter Wing and would have had a major negative impact on the Southern Arizona economy.

This new committee extended an invitation to the then Secretary of the Air Force, Ms. Sheila Widnall, to visit the unit before any change in the unit's mission was finalized.

Secretary Widnall visited the 162nd March 24, 1994, and was welcomed by then committee president, Mr. Bruce Beach. She was given a unit briefing by Brig. Gen. Ron Kurth, the unit commander at the time. In addition to the briefing, the Secretary was given a tour of the facilities. At the conclusion of her visit, she indicated that upon her return to Washington DC, she would look into the training situation.

One of the major points in the briefing was the $150 million local economic impact (in 1994) of the international training programs. It was also pointed out that the 162nd Fighter Wing mission was largely funded by foreign governments.

After Secretary Widnall returned to Washington DC, the recommended change made by the Chief of Staff to assign all flight training to the USAF was not implemented. Instead, the unit quickly expanded its pilot training to include 13 international customers. Through the years, the wing has trained 24 different ally and partner nation air forces in the F-16.

Today, the Minutemen continue their commitment to the future of the 162nd Fighter Wing and are working to help secure the F-35 Lighting II training mission for Tucson. The Tucson Lightning campaign was developed by the committee to generate awareness and support for the positive impacts this next generation strike fighter will bring to Tucson and Arizona. The 162nd Fighter Wing Minuteman Committee president, Tim Amalong, is the chairman of the Tucson Lightning Campaign.

The 162nd Fighter Wing Minuteman Committee believes that the 162nd Fighter Wing is a valuable national asset, a source of pride for all Tucsonans and is an indispensable factor in the local economy. The Minuteman Committee is ready to take action to ensure the wing's survival and asks all Southern Arizonans to join their efforts.

162nd Minuteman Committee Members

162nd Minuteman Committee Web page