Duluth-based 148th Fighter Wing loses 24-hour alert status


For more than a year, those serving the 148th Fighter Wing in Duluth knew the unit could lose its 24-hour alert status, and it was confirmed on Monday, WDIO TV reports. The change took effect in June, the station reports.

Northland's Newscenter reports that a spokesperson for the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, says the 148th Fighter Wing is one of two U.S. bases, along with Langley Air Force Base in Virginia, that lost the 24-hour alert status.

Officials with the 148th Fighter Wing declined comment to the media.

The change was a cost-cutting move – removing the 24-hour alert status in Duluth and at Langley is expected to save $73 million over four years. NORAD officials had said the move wouldn't damage its ability to scramble fighters to intercept hostile or hijacked aircraft.

Losing the 24-hour alert status would affect 71 of about 450 full-time 148th unit jobs, the Duluth News Tribune reported last year.

The Government Accountability Office in a report earlier this year noted that the cost savings would come from shifting full-time employees to part-time work. The GAO reviewed Defense officials' accounting but did not make a recommendation.

Then-Rep. Chip Cravaack, R-Minn., was among those last year who had called on the Defense Department to maintain all the nation’s then-18 existing 24-hour alert status sites.

The 148th Wing provides the U.S. Air Force with F-16s and also maintains the capability to support Minnesota with airmen ready to assist in domestic emergencies, according to the 148th's website.

According to the website, almost 300 airmen returned in 2012 from Afghanistan, where they provided F-16 air support for ground forces.

Next Up


2 killed in head-on crash involving car, dump truck

The crash happened just before 2 p.m. Friday, according to the State Patrol.


Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Saturday, October 31

Minnesota has surpassed 3,000 new cases on consecutive days.

high school football

Minnesota Football Showcase postponed due to COVID-19

The MFCA All-Star Game will be played in June 2021.

Screen Shot 2020-10-31 at 7.26.05 AM

Here's what President Trump said on his visit to Minnesota

The president targeted Gov. Tim Walz and Keith Ellison at his Minnesota rally.

Screen Shot 2020-10-30 at 6.09.58 PM

Here's what Joe Biden said in Minnesota Friday

Presenting himself as the candidate for a united country, he pledged improvements on affordable healthcare, pandemic relief

Mohamed Ibrahim

Missed PAT seals Gophers' fate against Maryland

Mohamed Ibrahim tied a school record with four touchdowns, but the Gophers lost in overtime.

dnr trout stocking helicopter

DNR uses a helicopter to more efficiently stock lakes with trout

In the past, the DNR used airplanes to stock remote lakes with fish, but the survival rate of the fish was only 85%.

steve simon zoom call

Secretary of State explains plans for segregated absentee ballots

Election officials are reminding voters that it's too late to mail in your absentee ballots.

Halloween, trick-or-treating

Osterholm on safe trick-or-treating: 'I would say go ahead with it'

The infectious disease expert's opinion doesn't align with the CDC's guidance.


Duluth Fighter wing gets national recognition

Duluth’s 148th Fighter Wing has been named the 2012 Air Force Association Outstanding Air National Guard Flying Unit. It's the third time the 148th has received the annual award.

Duluth's 148th Fighter Wing to deploy to Afghanistan

About 300 are headed to Kandahar Air Field in August for about two months. It will be the first time the fighter wing uses its Block 50 F-16s in deployment. The wing received the first of the Block 50s in April 2010. Worth about $30 million each, the Block 50s are as much as 13 years newer than the Block 25s the 148th was flying.

Duluth's 148th Fighter Wing given active association

The U.S. Air Force designation means active duty personnel can train and work with National Guard airmen at the base. U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar says the designation will increase economic activity in the Duluth area.

Duluth loses 'Timber'

A treasured member of the Duluth Police Department has passed. The Duluth News Tribune reports that Timber, one of the department’s former K-9s, had to be put down because of spleen cancer. Timber was forced to retire recently because of poor eyesight, but, had been living with officer Michelle Rafferty, his former police partner. She is planning a book about him.