More than 70 airmen and 30 planes will remain on the ground through the fall at Mountain Home Air Force Base. That's because of federal budget cuts, known as the sequester.
Colonel Chris Short commands the 366th Fighter Wing. His wing includes the 391st Squadron, known as the Bold Tigers. They’re a flying combat unit. “Typically they fly every day during a work week, we give them a certain number of hours during a month, to maintain their combat readiness, and what we’ve done is by standing them down, they will not fly at all.”
By cutting flight time, the military saves money on gas and repairs.
Short says the airmen and their maintenance crew will shift to ground training, which will include using flight simulators. He says the crews will stay busy, but it will be a challenge to keep morale up. “The morale issue that we have to deal with is going to be a challenge. We know going into it that this is unprecedented territory. We’ve not done this as long as I’ve been in the Air Force, where we stood down units because we didn’t have the money to fly them.”
After about 90 days of not flying, the crews will no longer be combat ready. “It takes approximately 90 days to spin them back up or train them back up to a combat ready status. Unfortunately the longer that they stand down, the longer it will take to spin them back up, retrain them up to that level.”
The Bold Tigers will stay on the ground at least through September.
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