Final F-16s from 115th Fighter Wing take off from Truax Field ahead of arrival of F-35s

MADISON, Wis. — The last F-16 fighter jets from the 115th Fighter Wing took off from Truax Field for the final time Wednesday morning as the facility prepares for the arrival of new F-35 jets next year.

A ceremony Wednesday morning marked the end of the F-16 era at Truax Field, which began nearly 30 years ago.

A “small contingent” of F-16s from other units will stay at Truax Field temporarily for homeland defense training, the Air Force said.

The eventual arrival of the larger F-35 jets, currently scheduled for the spring, has attracted controversy since the Air Force named Truax Field its preferred choice to house them in late 2017. The Air Force officially picked Truax Field for the jets in April 2020.

Opponents, including people who live near the Dane County Regional Airport, have voiced concerns about the jets’ noise levels as well as impacts on their homes and their health.

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Proponents, meanwhile, have touted the project’s economic benefits for the region.

Photojournalist Brian Mesmer contributed to this report.