(WALA) – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is making a stop at Eglin Air Force Base Thursday, July 10. Hagel is traveling to Eglin as part of a three-state tour of southeastern military installations.
The trip is designed to underscore some of Hagel’s budget priorities, including some that have gotten slammed by Congress, as members continue to debate the spending plan.
Eglin is home to the Air Force’s first full squadron of F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter aircraft. It is also where the next generation of Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps F-35 pilots and maintainers are being trained.
His visit comes at a pivotal time for the F-35. The Navy and Air Force have both grounded the plane in response to a runway fire that occurred two weeks ago.
Additional inspections of the F-35 have been ordered and it won’t return to flight until that work is done, according to the Pentagon.
The Secretary’s final stop will be Fort Rucker in Alabama.
FOX10 News Reporter Steve Alexander is covering Hagel’s trip to Eglin and will have a report on FOX10 News at 4 p.m.