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Air Force to scuttle Operation Snowbird training program

Posted: 8:57 AM, Sep 01, 2017
Updated: 2017-09-01 19:54:18Z

Davis-Monthan Air Force Base will lose a visiting pilot training program at the end of September.

The Air Force is withdrawing Air National Guard training for visiting units at the base effective Sept. 30, the end of its fiscal year.

The move nullifies the basis of a lawsuit filed by people who live near the base over an Air Force study that expanding the training program would have no significant impact on the area.

The move follows a May initiative to defund Operation Snowbird, which provided training for visiting pilots. It won't affect training operations from other bases that use D-M for training. Here is the full press release from D-M:

DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. – Effective September 30, 2017, Air Force officials are withdrawing the May 2015 Finding of No Significant Impact and associated Environmental Assessment related to Air National Guard supported training for visiting units at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.
 
The withdrawal was based on the National Guard Bureau's May 2017 decision to cease Operation Snowbird support and operations at Davis-Monthan, based on the bureau's reassessment of its training requirements and funding allocations for infrastructure and manpower.
 
The Air Force's Air Combat Command evaluated that decision, concluding in a formal withdrawal letter that "the purpose and need for updating and implementing the Total Force Training Mission" at the base "will terminate at the conclusion of Fiscal Year 2017."
 
Air Force and base officials emphasize that this action pertains only to new operations associated with the Total Force Training initiative.  It does not affect flying operations by aircraft stationed at the installation or aircraft from other bases that use Davis-Monthan as a training location for scheduled exercises, airfield familiarization, or similar recurring activities.
 
In addition, officials note the withdrawal does not preclude future changes to activities or missions at the base.  In accordance with the law and the department's commitment to environmental stewardship, any proposed change would be evaluated under a separate environmental impact analysis as appropriate.