U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich did not like what he saw while visiting the Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogordo on Wednesday. The base’s pilot training facility is falling apart, with a large sinkhole and things being held together with duct tape.
Last year, Heinrich secured $85 million to build a new facility, but that money is part of the fund targeted by President Trump to help build the border wall. Heinrich says the fact that our airmen are working in a facility like this is unacceptable, as the building is riddled with health and safety issues.
Built in the 1940s, the facility houses more than 60 rooms serving around 200 student pilots and their instructors. Those students and instructors work with the MQ-I Reaper, the remotely piloted aircraft otherwise known as drones.
Holloman officials say the training facility is integral to the base. KRQE News 13 is told the need for a new facility grows each year, as funding was constantly put on the backburner before. Now, with the risk of the money being taken away, the concern is also growing. “It’s just an old building, so it suffers from aging infrastructure, and despite a $3.5 million investment that was given in 2009 it still has these fixes that need to be renovated,” said Lt. Jasmine Manning.
Some of the other problems include electrical issues. At this point, it’s unclear which military construction projects will be cut, so right now everything is on hold, including this project.
Other military projects in New Mexico that are in jeopardy include a new information systems facility at White Sands Missle Range, a new cargo pad for Kirtland Air Force Base, and an upgrade to anti-terrorism protections there.