Tucson Forward, Inc. is a non-profit Arizona corporation dedicated to advancing the safety and welfare of Tucson citizens, residents, and visitors. Our focus on is the environmental, safety, and health dangers caused by the expansion and increases of frequency and decibel levels in -- and encroachment on -- our urban communities by low altitude flight training at Davis Monthan Air Force Base and the Air National Guard located at the Tucson International Airport.
Tucson Air National Guard Base and Davis Monthan Air Force Base are both within the City of Tucson. The Tucson International Airport, which is the home of Tucson ANG, is at the south end of the Central Tucson urban area. Davis Monthan AFB is slightly east of TIA. Both are surrounded by urban density. The military flight training involves repetitive take-offs, landings, and circling training of domestic and international military pilots over many high use residential and business areas, schools, churches, parks, and other recreational and shopping areas. The brunt of this training is also at very low altitude levels. Aside from the high decibel levels and the far reaching rumble and thrust of these jets, the fumes, fuels, and risk are not compatible with the desert valley's acoustics and dense population. Flights have become steadily louder and more frequent over the last several decades and include many types of more powerful and/or foreign aircraft that have not been reviewed or approved along the guidelines of federal environmental assessments. The current goal of the Air Force and ANG are to increase flight frequencies, including night flights, bring in much louder aircraft including the F35, bring in drone operations, and loosen restrictions on where military aircraft may fly outside previously approved flight paths. Many parts of Tucson, over the University of Arizona campus and south of there, experience military flights only several hundred feet overhead as they circle around and land at DMAFB. Proponents of these flights claim that the base brings jobs and economic benefits, however, closer analysis shows that the economic income to Tucson is not as great as other areas of commerce, for example tourism. Furthermore, the jobs and economy argument does not take into consideration the diminished quiet enjoyment of our city, the extreme loss of groundwater sucked up by the military bases, the very large blighted and under priced real estate south of Broadway that suffers under the lower altitude flight patterns. That blight significantly reduces the potential property values and, therefore, the property tax bases and attraction value of large areas of Tucson.
Tucson International Airport hosts Tucson Air National Guard Base, a 92-acre (37 ha) complex on the northwest corner of the airport that is home to the 162d Fighter Wing (162 FW), an Air Education and Training Command (AETC)-gained unit of the Arizona Air National Guard. The largest Air National Guard fighter unit in the United States, the 162 FW operates over 70 F-16C/D/E/F aircraft in three operational fighter squadrons. The wing provides training on the F-16 Fighting Falcon, augmenting the active Air Force's 56th Fighter Wing (56 FW) at Luke AFB, Arizona as a Formal Training Unit (FTU) for training Regular Air Force, Air Force Reserve Command, Air National Guard and NATO/Allied/Coalition F-16 pilots.
The wing also hosts the Air National Guard / Air Force Reserve Command (ANG AFRC) Command Test Center (AATC) as a tenant unit, which conducts operational testing on behalf of the Air Reserve Component. The 162 FW also hosts "Snowbird" operations during the winter months for Air Force, Air Force Reserve Command, and Air National Guard F-16 and A-10 units from northern tier bases in the continental United States, as well as Canadian Forces and Royal Air Force flying units.
During its history at TUS, the 162nd has operated the F-86 Sabre, F-100 Super Sabre, F-102 Delta Dagger, A-7 Corsair II and F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft. Not counting students or transient flight crews, the installation employs over 1,700 personnel, over 1,100 of whom are full-time Active Guard and Reserve (AGR) and Air Reserve Technician (ART) personnel, and the remainder traditional part-time Air National Guardsmen. Although an AETC organization, the 162nd also maintains an F-16 Alert Detachment for USNORTHCOM / NORAD and AFNORTH at nearby Davis-Monthan AFB in support of Operation Noble Eagle.
Davis–Monthan Air Force Base (DM AFB) (IATA: DMA, ICAO: KDMA, FAA LID: DMA) is a United States Air Force base located within the city limits approximately 5 miles (8.0 km) south-southeast of downtown Tucson, Arizona. It was established in 1925 as Davis-Monthan Landing Field. The host unit headquartered at Davis–Monthan is the 355th Fighter Wing assigned to Twelfth Air Force, part of Air Combat Command (ACC). The base is best known as the location of the Air Force Materiel Command's 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG), the aircraft boneyard for all excess military and government aircraft.