February 18, 2009
Altus, OK - U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Senior Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today traveled to Southwest Oklahoma where he visited Altus Air Force Base and was briefed by military leadership on current issues facing the base. He also met with Altus community and civic leaders.
"I'm always glad to visit Altus and see the progress being made at Altus Air Force Base," Senator Inhofe said. "I had the opportunity to meet with Col. David W. Allvin, Commander of the 97th Air Mobility Wing, as well as Dr. Joe Leverett, Chairman of the Altus Military Affairs Committee and other base and civilian leadership. While at Altus Air Force Base, I was briefed on the status of the Digital Air Surveillance Radar (DASR) updates, the KC-135 Block 40 upgrades, force protection initiatives, community partnerships, and other operations currently taking place at the base or planned for the near future.
"The future looks good for Altus Air Force Base, but we must continue working hard to attain new missions at Altus and improve operations on the base," Senator Inhofe said. "Though the 54th and 55th Air Refueling Squadrons are merging to make the 54th, today I learned that the intent is for the 55th Air Refueling Squadron to re-open as soon as Altus gains the KC-X mission.
"I had the opportunity to visit and fly in both the KC-135R flight and air refueling simulators today and was impressed by how realistic they seemed. The KC-135 Block 40 upgrade recently completed at Altus leverages emerging technologies to improve overall KC-135 training. Altus is migrating to 85% simulator training for the KC-135. This new training will result in better trained students and safer, more reliable equipment usage.
"Altus Air Force Base has also had great success in energy savings, and is currently leading the pack in the Air Force's AETC Energy Initiative Award Program that measures percent energy reduction against a 3-year average consumption. Altus has already reduced their consumption 16.6% in the first five months of the year-long program, and stands to win the $1.5 M prize for quality of life improvements at the base. They have also been very successful in greater fuel savings because of increased teamwork between operations and maintenance on predicting fuel requirements. The base has seen $80,000 savings per day, projecting $2 M in savings over a year.
"I stress to all our military establishments in Oklahoma that community support plays a large role in BRAC decisions, something which our Oklahoma military and communities do better than any other state. Altus Air Force Base continues to greatly benefit from the selfless support of the local community. Several partnerships between the base and community, such as the Eastside Development with the Industrial Airpark, the 'Grow Your Own Mechanic' apprenticeship program for local youth with the Southwest Technology Center, and the Structural Fire Training Facility with Oklahoma State University, that are currently in the works will continue to help both Altus and the Air Force Base. I also had the opportunity to visit with some of Altus' civilian maintainers, who help keep this base and its aircraft running smoothly, efficiently and successfully."