Fort Smith residents rally to save 188th

FORT SMITH (AP) - Fort Smith residents are showing their support for the 188th Fighter Wing, which is being targeted in proposed federal military cuts.

Hundreds of people who live in and around Fort Smith gathered Friday outside the 188th's front gate to demonstrate their backing for the mission as the Air Force chief of staff arrived for a planned tour of the facilities.

The Southwest Times Record reports Gen. Mark A. Welsh arrived in Fort Smith on Thursday evening and attended a reception. He responded to calls from local officials who wanted him to tour the base.

Residents gathered at the base on Friday, including Shirley Bearden, said they wanted to show Welsh that the 188th has the backing of the community and that people in Fort Smith value the facility.

Information from: Southwest Times Record,

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