We need your help!

We need your help to save training and jobs in southern Arizona!

Budget cuts in the Department of Defense (DOD) could mean the loss of important training programs at our local Western Army National Guard Aviation Training Site (WAATS) in Marana. Please help tell Washington, D.C., how important this program is. We need to respond immediately.

In 2013, the Army Aviation Restructure Initiative (ARI) proposed to transfer all Apache helicopters from the Army National Guard and US Army Reserve to the regular Army in response to sequestration and a shrinking DOD budget. Our WAATS is 1 of 4 National Guard aviation training sites and the only training site with proven attack aviation training experience. Following the 2013 recommendation of the National Commission on the Future of the Army (NCFA), half of the Attack Reconnaissance Battalions (ARB) were removed thus eliminating Apache training. With only 6 ARBs remaining, and the proposal to eliminate two more, WAATS is a training site at risk. Eliminating the remaining ARB at WAATS would threaten the existence of the facility that not only houses the Apache pilots, but also the maintenance crews and support staff necessary for operations, in addition to a unit from Singapore.

There would be two significant impacts:

  • Should the 1-285thARB at WAATS be deactivated, there would be a loss of 507 positions with a combined economic impact of $147 million
  • Our national defense would also be weakened as the U.S. Army is experiencing an unprecedented pilot shortage and the 1-285thcan deploy immediately, and this ability would be eliminated should the group be deactivated.

Why should the Army not deactivate the 1-285th?

International relations:

  • The Singapore Peace Vanguard has invested $20 million in assets to train on Apaches at WAATS. Should the battalion no longer exist, the Singapore Peace Vanguard is unlikely to remain

Arizona is the number one place for flying missions because:

  • 360 days of flying weather
  • Access to the Goldwater Range, a restricted airspace live-fire range the size of New Jersey in southern Arizona
  • Vast amount of training space

SOUTHERN Arizona is the number one place for flying missions due to:

  • Southern Arizona-based installations work and train together
  • Training between Ft. Huachuca RPAs, DMAFB A-10s, 162nd Wing F-16’s, Luke AFB and MCAS-Yuma F-35s, and Apaches at WAATS reflect real world climate, terrain and battle situations
  • The Pima County Dark Skies ordinance further expands the training opportunities for aviation
  • 360 days and nights of flying weather
  • Access to the Goldwater Range
  • Vast amount of training space

National defense

  • The ability to train in Arizona is incomparable to other parts of the country
  • Our current international affairs require our military to be fully operational and eliminating experienced aviation positions with combat-proven skills weakens our nation’s defense
  • The Army is already unable to keep up with pilot training for the Regular Army, Army National Guard, and Foreign Military Partners, and retraining currently qualified Apache pilots in the National Guard and placing Apaches in locations with no trained pilots sets back our ability to deploy for many years


  • County and municipal representatives
  • Business and civic organizations
  • Individuals and neighbors


Chairman John McCain
United States Senate
2201 E Camelback Rd
Phoenix, Arizona 85016


Chairman McCain, Care of
Austin Kennedy
Legislative Liaison

And paste correspondence here to reach all Arizona legislators: https://sazdefense.org/take-action-join-us/write-letter/