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Rep. Walden, Air Force Secretary eat with local veterans

KTVL / Jennevieve Fong

Local veterans sat down with Air Force secretary Heather Wilson in Klamath Falls Sunday morning. Hosted by Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR, 2nd District), a group of about 20 veterans gathered for an intimate breakfast discussion.

"This community is really important to the support of the base and it's great to have veteran leaders in the community," Wilson said.

During the meal, participants were able to ask individual questions and voice their concerns.

"It is about, with our veterans, making sure they have access to the care and benefits that they were promised when they were serving," Walden said. "All of us team up on this to try to make sure they get access to the healthcare and the other benefits."

Together, they discussed topics including the president's Space Force plan, education benefits, and housing access.

"It's about how the community is coming together to solve the issues that have been identified by the military that would help ease the way for our airmen to live here and work here," Walden said.

Secretary Wilson also shared her own background and her family's history of military service.

"If you're an airmen once, then you're an airmen for life," Wilson said. "Staying connected to the veterans communityit's so important to us. Not only to support the community where we operate, but also to inspire the next generation of young people to consider serving in the Air Force."

Congressman Walden said he interacts with veterans like this on a regular basis, but this is the first time the Secretary has visited the base.

"I think the secretary goes away from this basin knowing how much the people of southern Oregon and the basin really support their veterans, active military, the guard," Walden said.

Congressman Walden said the visit shows what a great asset Kingsley Field is to our nation.

"The training area, the base itself, and the men and women that work there that are the strength of the administration," he added.

The congressman said he marks the secretary's trip as a win for southern Oregon.

"What we know is there are issues we need to keep working on," Walden said. "The community is right there, on time, getting it done."

After the meal, Secretary Wilson took off in an F-15, ending her historic trip to southern Oregon. This was the first time in the history of the base that the Secretary of the United States Air Force has visited Kingsley Field.

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