Granger invites Austin to Fort Worth ‘for a firsthand look at the critical role the F-35 plays in our national defense’


U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III hasn’t said whether he’ll visit Fort Worth but he has been invited.

Earlier this week, Congresswoman Kay Granger, who represents Texas’ 12 District and Fort Worth, invited Austin to come down for a visit.

“I invited @SecDef to visit the #NASJRB and @LockheedMartin to see firsthand the work being done in #FortWorth and the critical role #F35s play in our national defense,” Granger said in a Twitter post.

Austin, a 1975 U.S. Military Academy at West Point graduate who spent 41 years in uniform before retiring as a four-star Army general with years as a Central Command commander, was sworn in in January as the nation’s 28th secretary of defense.

Granger, who in 1997 became the first Republican woman to represent Texas in the U.S. House, is ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee and she previously was the first Republican woman to serve on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, which she also chaired.

The 12th Congressional District of Texas includes Wise County, Parker County and the western half of Tarrant County.

Granger’s letter to Austin was included in Granger’s Twitter post and a separate press release.

“I would like to personally invite you to join me in Fort Worth at your earliest convenience for a firsthand look at the critical role the F-35 plays in our national defense,” Granger said in her invitation. “The production of the F-35 is equally as impressive as its performance. The 12th District also includes Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base (NAS JRB) Fort Worth, home to some of our nation’s finest citizen service members who would be honored to host you during your visit.”

Granger also told Austin, in her invitation that she was pleased the defense secretary places “defending the nation as the Department of Defense’s top priority, and that you are prioritizing China as the department’s pacing challenge.” She described the F-35, Lockheed Martin’s single-seat, single-engine, all-weather stealth combat aircraft, as “a critical contributor not only to these priorities, but to our entire National Defense Strategy.”

More than 18,000 people work in Lockheed Martin’s F-35 production facility, according to Granger’s invitation.

Granger also talked up Fort Worth as a key part of the nation’s defense mission.

“The story of Fort Worth and the 12th Congressional District of Texas is one of America’s national security,” Granger said in her letter. “Generations of North Texans have worked tirelessly on production lines of the world’s most advanced aircraft, including the F-16 and the F-35. The men and women who build these aircraft are the reason these fighters are the best in the world. The same Fort Worth plant that produced the B-24 bomber for World War II now produces the world’s most advanced, lethal fighter today, the Joint Strike Fighter.”

At this reporting, the defense secretary has not publicly responded to Granger’s invitation.

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