United States Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta made an appearance in the Ark-La-Tex Friday. Panetta was at Barksdale Air Force Base to greet and thanks airman, distribute coins and medals, and make remarks about new budget cutbacks.
The Pentagon plans to cut about $485 billon from the budget over the next decade. Panetta said that will have an impact on all 50 states, including Louisiana and Barksdale. There's a chance a fleet of A-10s will be retired at the 47th Fighter Squadron. Although Panetta said the cuts will be challenging, he had words of assurance for Barksdale airmen. "The reason I wanted to stop here is to tell you how important this base is. It's a key priority for us, and it's going to stay a key priority for us in the future," he said.