That’s why Lockheed’s F-35 program remains important to U.S. security and the Fort Worth economy.

As a kid in Fort Worth, I dreamed of joining the Navy to protect the country. After graduating from high school, I joined the US Navy, and after completing a mission tour, I returned to my hometown and looked for another way to serve our country.

Fortunately, I was hired as an aircraft assembler on the F-16 production line in Lockheed Martin’s Fort Worth division. Since World War II Fort Worth is synonymous with providing technically advanced airplanes. To our military.

I took great pride in the United States and Texas creating one of the most successful, combat-proven fighters in the world in our country’s history.I became a member while working at the Fort Worth factory International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) Local 776A.

Brother-sister relationships, represented by the IAM Local 776A, continue to contribute significantly to the success of the F-16 program. Dedicated men and women at the Fort Worth plant produced 3,630 aircraft before the final F-16 went off line in 2017.

Fort Worth production facility pride Continue F-35 program.. Since its inception, Machinist Union members have proudly manufactured the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the only fifth-generation stealth aircraft in the United States currently in production. The F-35 is an important element of US air superiority in three US military services.

Airplanes are also an essential weapons system for our most important allies. Again, our city plays a huge role in maintaining peace.

But the F-35 is more than a fighter. It’s a lifeline for a better life for thousands of working families in Fort Worth. The Biden administration and Congress should not enjoy the conversation about reducing the number of F-35 aircraft for our military. The F-35 will continue to be the only fighter in production that can survive in a highly competitive environment and ensure that pilots can return home safely.

The F-35 program is also the economic driver of Fort Worth, our state, and our country. This mature program supports more than 254,000 direct and indirect American jobs and approximately 1,800 first-class suppliers nationwide, not to mention the suppliers that support them.Over $ 49 billion annually in the United States

The program also promotes significant economic activity throughout Texas. More than 110 of the program’s suppliers are in our state, and the program has more than 55,000 direct and indirect jobs in Texas. This investment is over $ 10 billion in the Texas economy. The economic impact of the F-35 program continues to grow.

Still, some short-sighted politicians refuse to see the national security and financial benefits of the F-35 program, threatening to reduce funding for the program. Our country cannot afford to lose the military benefits of the F-35. Production cuts threaten the economic future of our community, as well as countless other communities across the state and nation. Fort Worth’s financial vitality depends on its continued support for the F-35. Gather behind the program.

The F-35 program strengthens national security, strengthens global partnerships and promotes economic growth. We are proud to represent workers across the country who create, deliver, maintain and support this important defense program. The F-35 program creates high-quality mechanic union jobs, from Fortworth production workers to suppliers in almost every state, to coast-to-coast maintenance sites.

Our members continue to increase efficiency on assembly lines and reduce costs for our countries and customers around the world. The Machinists Union works with a delegation of the Texas State Parliament, a friend of Parliament, and Lockheed Martin to protect our country while ensuring a bright economic future for the Fort Worth family.

Robert Martinez Jr. is the 14th International President of the International Association of Mechanics and Aerospace Workers and represents nearly 600,000 active and retired members. ..