MILITARY MATTERS: Georgia’s Combat Readiness Training Center for Fighter Pilots May Be Forced to Shut Down

Published: Apr. 13, 2022 at 11:02 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTVM) - The Combat Readiness Training Center prepares Georgia airmen for combat, but it’s in danger of shutting down. There’s bipartisan backlash to that portion of President Joe Biden’s 2023 budget request, that includes the elimination of the Georgia Air National Guard Combat Readiness Training Center in Savannah.

“This is the beginning, it’s not the end. The President’s budget is a proposal. So this is the beginning. We’ve got to go through the budget process ourselves in the House, and that’s where we’re going to change minds,” U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter of Georgia said.

Georgia leaders like Republican U.S. Representative Buddy Carter and Democrat Senator Rev. Raphael Warnock are coming together to convince others in Washington of the importance of the CRTC, which brings in fighter pilots from all over the country to train off Georgia’s coast.

“The number one responsibility of the federal government is to protect our homeland. Here we are, on potentially World War 3, and we’re talking about closing a combat readiness training center? It is simply ridiculous,” Carter added.

On a recent tour of it, Representative Carter also made note of the $24million hangar being built behind him that’s due to open this fall. It will house 4th and 5th generation fighters that come to Savannah to train.

Also weighing in on the proposed closure of the Combat Readiness Training Center was the commander of the Georgia Air National Guard.

MG Thomas Grabowski said, “Like every other Air Force officer, I trust in my senior leaders. And we’re going to salute smartly, and do what the U.S. Air Force tells us to do. But we certainly hope that they take maybe one more look at this and see the value of what Savannah brings to prepare to fight a peer to peer adversary like China.”

If lawmakers can’t get the proposal reversed, the Savannah CRTC would close a year from now, next April.

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