WASHINGTON – Members of the Arkansas delegation sat down Wednesday with a representative of the 188th Fighter Wing/Fort Chaffee Community Council who said the transition from a flying to drone mission is proceeding as anticipated.
“Our conversion is on track for the 188th,” said former 188th Fighter Wing Commander, retired Col. Kevin Wear.
Wear, a board member of the council, updated Sens. John Boozman, R-Ark., and Mark Pryor, D-Ark., on the latest news from the 188th Fighter Wing and Fort Chaffee. Arkansas House members were invited but were unable to attend because of roll call votes on the House floor. They did have staff members at the meeting.
“We want to make sure the transition from the A-10 to the new mission is going smoothly,” said Boozman, who hosted the meeting in his office. “We are working hard as a delegation, and also they are working hard, to make sure we are facilitating this.”
Wear said after the meeting that the delegation has been unified in supporting the 188th and Fort Chaffee. Right now, he said, there are no major issues that needed to be flagged. The A-10 transition is proceeding and the new unmanned vehicle mission should be an asset for joint training exercises held at Fort Chaffee.
Fort Chaffee is getting assistance now with the design phase for a new readiness facility. At Fort Smith, the community is looking ahead to the future and whether another air mission could be included there, Wear said.
“We just need to keep working on the 188th,” Pryor said. “That is such a great asset for all of our military.”
Dr. Jerry Stewart, president of the council, accompanied Wear to Capitol Hill but took ill and was unable to attend the meeting.