Tampa Bay lawmakers, Sen. Rubio and Sen. Nelson want to bring more tanker jets to MacDill AFB

AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA)—Tampa Bay lawmakers along with Sen. Marco Rubio and Sen. Bill Nelson have issued a joint letter in support of bringing a dozen additional KC-135 tanker jets to MacDill Air Force Base.

The letter, addressed to Air Force Secretary Lisa Disbrow is led by U.S. Reps. Kathy Castor and Thomas J. Rooney and includes Nelson, Rubio and the Tampa Bay congressional delegation.

“We write in strong support of relocating 12 KC-135 Stratotankers from McConnell Air Force Base to MacDill Air Force Base (AFB) in Tampa, Florida. MacDill AFB and the 6th Air Mobility Wing play a critical role in America’s national security mission and Air Force Air Mobility operations. As you consider mission factors, installation capacity, environmental impacts, costs and military judgement, we believe you will see that MacDill AFB is an ideal choice,” they said in the statement.

Those making the case for MacDill say it’s the best location to fuel the fight against ISIS and other insurgents in the Middle East.  The base also provides support during humanitarian and natural disasters in the Caribbean, Latin America and the southeastern United States, according to the letter.

The jets are currently based at McConnell Air Force base in Wichita, Kansas.

MacDill is one of two bases competing to host the jets and the estimated 400 people they will employ.

MacDill AFB already already houses 16 Stratotankers and another eight are will arrive this year.   The eight jets come with 220 active duty personnel and 75 reservists, according to the Air Force.

The base plans to replace its fleet of Stratotankers with 179 new planes by 2028.

 

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