Power of Partnerships
Montgomery: The T-100 and the F-35. Tuskegee and Montgomery. Two mayors. Two cities. One mission: to grow the aviation communities in the River Region.
That collective spirit resonated inside the reception room Labor Day Friday hosted by Tuskegee Mayor Tony Haygood who invited friends and supporters from Tuskegee and Montgomery to celebrate a growing aviation partnership between his city and Mayor Todd Strange’s city, Montgomery. If both cities are successful in getting their respective USAF mega awards, the T-100 and the F-35, the River Region’s aviation landscape changes forever, says Mayor Haygood.
“We will see major growth in Tuskegee and in Montgomery. We will see new jobs for both communities. We will experience a new economic dynamic for generations to come and we’re both working together to see that both cities win,” said Haygood before jubilant fans of Tuskegee and ASU who joined the mayor to kick off the Labor Day Classic and the return of the oldest HBCU football rivalry in the country, the Tuskegee Golden Tigers and the ASU Hornets. (TU would be victorious, 14 – 6 before a record setting crowd, 25,442 at Hornet Stadium Saturday night.)
Mayor Haygood presented Mayor Strange a ceremonial award commending him for the support he has shown “from day one.” “I can honestly say when we first came to talk with Mayor Strange about the T-100 project, he jumped on board with us from the beginning and has been rolling with us ever since. Behind the scenes, he’s been working with us. And that’s what we call a partnership. That’s what we’re building here, said Haygood.”
“We want to have a spirited rivalry. We want to have a friendship. We want to strengthen our ties, our economic building ties to grow the River Region. This partnership is the beginning of so many good things to come to the River Region.”
Mayor Strange gladly embraced the partnership. “These projects, the F-35 and the T-100 are huge for both cities and both projects share the enormous history of the Tuskegee Airmen and the Red Tails”.
Strange said an announcement is expected by the end of September on whether the Air Force locates its new F-35 fighter jet program to the 187th Fighter Wing of the Alabama Air National Guard in Montgomery.
Macon County Economic Development Authority consultant Joe Turnham who has been front and center with the T-100 development project echoed the support he says continues to grow and gain huge momentum in Tuskegee. “Every day people are talking about the T-100 Tuskegee project. They are very excited, very optimistic and very engaged. They are telling friends, neighbors, business and community leaders, church members, maintenance workers, and students. Everyone is on board.”
Turnham highlighted the economic impact of the T-100 project, 750 immediate new jobs, proposed by Leonardo DRS, a global aerospace defense company that will build the jet trainer in Tuskegee at historic Moton Field should it be awarded the USAF multi billion dollar contract. A decision is expected by the end of the year.
“Leonardo DRS announced last March that it chose Tuskegee to “come full circle” with continuing the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen. I have worked on many economic development projects for Macon County but none compare to the historical significance of the T-100 jet trainer aircraft at Moton Field where the Airmen trained during WW II.”
“These two major aviation projects for Tuskegee and Montgomery are a once in a lifetime development opportunity. The T-100 jet trainer and the F-35 fighter jet are a match made in aviation heaven because the T-100 trains the pilots to fly the F-35. What a win-win for both communities.”