DES MOINES, Iowa — “I flew fighters at the Des Moines Air National Guard for over 20 years,” said retired Colonel Keith Acheson. “I was proud to be a former Squadron Commander.”
When it comes to military readiness, Keith Acheson knows his stuff and is happy about the nearly $700 billion that will be going to the Pentagon.
“I think President Trump understands that our military has been on the second shelf for the last 8 or 10 years and I think one reason he signed this budget is because he knows our military needs the money to get it started,” said Acheson. “We need new airplanes. We need to fix old airplanes.”
With America facing growing threats around the world, beefing up the military budget sends a strong signal to leaders like Kim Jong-un in North Korea.
“He comes with missile threats,” said Acheson. “Okay, why did he do that? Because he didn’t think we could defend against that.”
Channel 13’s cameras were there with Acheson in September of 2013 as he watched the last manned flights for the 132nd Fighter Wing, when Des Moines said goodbye to F-16s and transitioned to drones with the MQ-9 Reaper.
“We flew manned aircraft out there for 70 plus years and it was just a shocker,” said Acheson. “No one liked it (when the F-16 Fighter Jets left due to federal budget cuts). And nothing like the sound of freedom coming in and out of the airport for everyone, you know? And also, (the) economic impact for the state of Iowa and surrounding regions. Many jobs come with those aircraft.”
While it’s too early to know how–if at all–the approved military spending will impact Des Moines, Acheson is hopeful about the possibilities.
“Perhaps along the line some, within the next year or two, foreseeable future, there might be a mix between drones and manned aircraft here at Des Moines Guard,” said Acheson.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Iowa National Guard said it’s too early to know what impact the increased military spending will have in Iowa.