COMMENTARY: On Thursday, the German Air Force (GAF) announced their intent to cease operations at their Tactical Training Center (TTC) at Holloman Air Force Base (HAFB) in 2019.
Our office has been in close contact with the Germans as they wrestled with the budgetary constraints that could potentially lead to this cessation of activities. Although I understand the difficult budget decisions the German government is forced to make, I am certain the strategic value of training at HAFB will be missed by GAF airmen.
Though the TTC was formally established in 1996, the GAF has trained in our region for decades. In this time, the Luftwaffe has not only honed the skills of their airmen, but strengthened the bond between our two countries. The Holloman community will miss the comradery of the Luftwaffe, the German families who have come to call New Mexico home, and the multinational culture that will forever be engrained in Alamogordo.
It is clear, the close bond between Alamogordo and the German Luftwaffe will last long after their 2019 departure from the Land of Enchantment. After all, as I was told recently, training at HAFB is a part of the GAF’s “genetic code.”
While I hope the budget situation within Germany changes in the coming years, potentially allowing the GAF to remain at Holloman, we must also look to the future for our storied base. Holloman has always been known for cultivating and housing the finest airmen our nation has to offer.
No other base shapes airmen like ours does: Our environment is unparalleled, our training ranges mimic terrains across the globe, our sunny skies allow for airmen to fly more days than anywhere in the country, and, most importantly, our community is unwavering in its support for our forces.
Our office is engaged with local leaders and the Air Force to find missions to replace this significant void to ensure the continued success of HAFB and Alamogordo. I am thankful for the time we have shared with the German Air Force, the unique bond our airmen enjoy – especially when deployed overseas, and the dedication of our community.
Pearce, a Republican, represents New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District in the U.S. House.