Updated: KRQE follows up with a report that this new mission is based on a handshake. See vid after the jump.
A late Thursday release from the governor's office:
Governor Bill Richardson Applauds New Mission for 150th Fighter Wing
SANTA FE-Governor Bill Richardson today announced that the New Mexico Air National Guard's 150th Fighter Wing has a new mission. Under the new mission, the 150th, known as the Tacos, will become associated with the Air Force's 58th Special Operations Wing based at Kirtland Air Force Base.
"This is great news for the State of New Mexico and the dedicated men and women who serve in our National Guard," Governor Richardson said. "This distinguished unit, which has served our country for more than 60 years, will continue to play a critical role in our national defense. I am pleased that through our efforts we were successful in securing this new and important mission that will preserve valuable jobs and the proud tradition of our Tacos."
And that's the entirety of the press release. Are you wondering what the new mission is? I was. All this release told me is that Richardson is pleased as punch now that the Tacos are "associated" with a special ops wing at Kirtland, the nuke base.
OK, so I emailed the governor's office, and here's what I got back almost immediately:
"The new mission with the 58th is still being worked out and details will be released as they come available. The good news is that we won't be losing jobs."
Hmmm... not losing jobs is good, but I still wanted to know what the mission might be. I mean, I wouldn't applaud a military mission if I didn't know what it was. For all we know, it could be carpet-bombing western Pakistan or it could be test-piloting new potato-peeling technology. So, I googled....
From KOAT.com: "The new mission involves training for special operations, combat search and rescue and airlift operations."
OK, that's a little more information, but KOAT cites unnamed sources.
Hmmmm... What is going on here?
Oh, it's probably not worth worrying about. The really freaky shit is going on at White Sands.
Nevertheless, some of New Mexico's most liberal politiciansfrom US Rep. Martin Heinrich to state Sen. Eric Griego were supporting the Tacos in their quest for a new mission after the Air Force announced it would not replace the wing's soon-to-be-retired fleet of F-16s. Richardson was arguably the most brazen in his war-withdrawal plan than any of the 2008 Democratic presidential candidates, save Dennis Kucinich.
My question: The Tacos' heritage and courage and the 1,000 jobs aside, why are these doves so happy that a flock of warbirds is no longer obsolete?