Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Setting the Record Straight
...on Willow Grove NAS-JRB

Everyone in the Philadelphia and surrounding area seems to be under the impression that the Willow Grove National Air Base and Joint Reserve is closing. It's not.
Under the present BRAC proposal, the base is to be re-aligned into a large Army Reserve base with no flight operations.

Here are some additional interesting things you may not know... This base has been deployed to Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq three times in the past four years. There have been five combat deployments in ten years, and that three of those five were voluntary. The 111th Fighter Wing is rated third among the ANG A-10 units. Most impressive is that 75% have served overseas since 9/11.

As the various base closures were made known and this and that politician pled for their base (or used it as political leverage as some in the Senate are now doing), I have been a bit disgusted. Bases have to close. Many communities have done better once the initial shock of the base closing was over because private businesses and hotels came in and revenue actually improved. This is why I don't feel hypocritical as I urge you to contact your federal Lawmakers to ask them to help keep the airfield open and modify the BRAC proposal.

You see, as it stands now, since the base is only changing and not closing there is to be little or no land development from civilian businesses. Land re-development was vital to those communities that survived and even thrived after thier closures. For our area this means the loss of approximately $250 million per year and an estimated 3-4,000 employees who live locally.

What is really happening:
-The Base remains open.
-The Airfields is to be closed and slotted to become a long parking lot.
-The 111th Fighter Wing is being deactivated
-A-10s to be sent to 'the bone yard'.
-Over 1,000 jobs lost

On September 5th the BRAC commission makes its final recommendations and Congress votes on the plan (all or none) on November 5, 2005. Please contact your federal and state lawmakers BEFORE the regional BRAC hearing in Baltimore where presentations will be made for the PA state delegation on JUNE 8, 2005.

To join this effort to modify the BRAC plan, please call 610-630-0651. There may be a rally at the base on June 6th when the BRAC Chairman, Anthony Principi, is tentatively scheduled to visit.

Or you can visit SaveWillowGrove.com

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