Fairchild AFB, the only Tier One tanker base west of the Rockies, is strategically located in the Pacific Northwest within 100 nautical miles of 15 tanker tracks which cuts the cost of enroute fuel and maximizes the offload capabilities. With the National Security Strategy pivoting toward Asia, the location becomes ever more important as tanker bridges will be established closer to Fairchild than any other Air Force pure tanker installation. Our over-the-pole geography provides a decided advantage in war, and the large, uncluttered local airspace allows for limitless peacetime training without impingement or encroachment. Lastly, if deterrence fails, the base remains critical to the execution of the air-breathing segment of the nuclear TRIAD.
Fairchild is the home of the 92nd Air Refueling Wing and the 141st Air Refueling Wing Washington Air National Guard, in a classic association, with the two wings flying 35 KC-135 tankers and one RC-26B reconnaissance aircraft supporting worldwide military missions, refueling fighter, bomber, reconnaissance and airlift aircraft, as well as providing rapid and reliable passenger and cargo airlift.
Fairchild AFB is home to the USAF’s only survival school, preparing over 12,500 aircrew members and SERE instructors annually. The 336th Training Group Fairchild consists of the USAF Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) School and the 36th Rescue Flight. In addition to the on-base Survival School facilities, over 500,000 acres of rugged mountains in the Colville and Kaniksu National Forests are used for the wilderness survival simulations.
The community has always exhibited outstanding support for its base, its airmen and their families. This is exhibited through a number of organizations: Operation Spokane Heroes is a military support program where businesses and individuals support military families by offering discounted goods and services. The Forward Fairchild and the Spokane Military Alliance are committees of Greater Spokane Incorporated that brings the business community and military officers from all branches of the military together and celebrates military excellence at Let Freedom Ring. The Honorary Commander Program matches approximately 80 business leaders with officers at Fairchild Air Force Base to introduce the officers to Spokane and the surrounding region. The Lilac Festival is a weeklong celebration of our armed forces every May, culminating with the annual Armed Forces Torchlight Parade. The Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena, built in 1995, was named in honor of our area veterans. It hosts a Veterans Day Ceremony each November.