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Pennsylvania military bases defended?

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After the massive closing of the Philadelphia Navy Yard in the early 1990s Pennsylvania has organized to save the remaining bases in the state. Some of the weaker ones are in the central part (Fort Indiantown Gap, Army War College of Carlise (sp) etc.). The Pittsburgh Air Force Base and the nearby Army Support Command Base (Charles Kelly Base) are two in the Pittsburgh region that fuel a lot of the west hills economy. The Airbase especially with three active AirForce units calling it home is of great economic importance to the region. With this years BRAC (Base Reallignment And Closing hearings) Pittsburgh's two bases and Central PA's few remaining Army bases are again under the axe. The Kelly Support Command Base may be the weaker of the two but depending on force needs the Airbase might be closed down (relatively nearby Wright Patterson and Andrews have already relegated Pittsburgh AFB to Airlift, AirSupport, and Air Refueling divisons). It will be interesting to see if PA can save all its bases this round.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05108/489927.stm

"State's big guns aimed to defend military bases

Monday, April 18, 2005

By Torsten Ove, PITTSBURGH Post-Gazette

Some years back, the [Pittsburgh International Airport] set aside land adjacent to the military bases near Pittsburgh International Airport.

The idea was to give the three installations -- the 171st Air Refueling Wing, the 911th Military Airlift Group and the 99th Regional Readiness Command -- some extra room if they needed it.

"All of us out here acknowledge the importance of the military bases," said Kent George, head of the airport authority. "We wanted to make sure that there was no question that we were positioning ourselves for the future. . . . " "

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The List came out today . . . bad news for Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh will lose both installations at the Air Force Base and the Kelly Command Center will close down as well :(. All subject to congressional approval but congress may not amend individual bases just an up or down vote. The congressional delegation is stunned at this news giving USAFB Pittsburgh's heavy role in support operations with Afganistan and Iraq. To lose all three installations and both bases is a blow to the region.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05133/504173.stm

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just to update . . .

The Pennsylvanian Congressional delegation (Reps and Dems together) with the two Republican Senators and Dem. Governor Rendell have come together to fight for Willow Grove AFB outside Philly and a consolidated Pittsburgh AFB with Kelly Support Command Center in Pittsburgh (saving ALL jobs of both facilities).

The Pittsburgh AFB proposal is VERY strong given that the #1 reason for closure is the FALSE assumption that there is no room for expansion. The county has repeatedly offered the AirForce hundreds of acres of adjacent land at no cost for that very expansion.

Gonna be very interesting . . . here is the Governor at the Pittsburgh AFB.

20050517dsgovrendellclosin_450.jpg

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The Federal gov't doesn't give rat's ass. They have already decided to close it. Sadly, the argument that there is plent yof room for expansion will probably not make a difference. For all we know that is just an excuse the gov't came up with.

To think of all the money they wasted on Iraq, and now this is how they make up for it. Very sad.

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Although the Congress may not alter the final list, its really semantics because the "final" list is put out by committee after hashing all this over with the Pentagon . . . technically Congress can only vote it all up or all down but in the world of politics there is ALWAYS room for negotiation. My prediction is that they save USAFB Pittsburgh as a consolidated USAFB and Charles Kelly Support Command Base to the south, and that Willow Grove consolidates maybe Johnstown and a few others so we can at least keep those jobs in the state. I would be very surprised if we lost both USAFB Pittsburgh and USAFB Willow Grove, they will change and consolidate functions with smaller satellites but I think Philadelphia is a key city in a key swing state and has been scarred by the Naval closing and USAFB Pittsburgh does have room to expand and Santorum is up for reelection in 2006 and has to count on his hometown being behind him to win the state. Politics is such fun!

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I feel for you guys in the Pittsburgh area. The Niagara Falls AFB is also on the list. The air base is the second biggest employer in the county :(

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^^thats tough my man, there will definetly be some hurting in the next 5 years or so, I do agree with the overall object of closing outdated bases but Pittsburgh AFB has been offered land from the county to expand itself, how are we too tiny then?

UPDATE:

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 6/11/2005

". . . In another matter, the airport authority announced there would be a "Save the Bases" rally June 21 outside of the U.S. Air Force Reserve 911th Airlift Wing in Moon to try to persuade members of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission to keep the 911th and the Army's Charles E. Kelly Support Facility in Collier open. The time of the rally has yet to be determined. . . "

I think we need to get out there and show the "inside the beltway" crowd what kind of support the base has here in Pittsburgh!

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UPDATE!

Charles Kelly Army Base in Pittsburgh to close (not a surprise but very very sad)

And a shocker that Willow Grove AFB outside Philly is to close?!?! this just 10 years or so after the ugly and long fought-against shut down of the Philly Navy Yard for east state.

In move that I anticipated Pittsburgh Air Base will stay although it's fleet is being moved and it's up in the air what it's role or how big of a role it will play in the future. Out of both Willow Grove and Pittsburgh I would have thought Willow had a stronger case for remaining, though I doubted they would close Pittsburgh.

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UPDATE 1-US Court rules National Guard base closure illegal

PHILADELPHIA, Aug 26 (Reuters) - A federal judge ruled on Friday that the Pentagon had broken the law in seeking to close down the 111th Fighter Wing of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard without first obtaining the governor's approval.

Good job by Ed Rendell. A lot of these latest base closures are smack of pork barrel politics to move more and more of our military to Texas and Georgia. This stuff really pisses me off because I'm a US Marine at a reserve unit in Pittsburgh and it bothers me to no end that future Pennsylvanians won't be afforded the opportunity to serve their country without giving up their entire life and living in some cinder-block squad bay in the South for 4 years while the southern good ol' boys get to serve in their own back yards and go home to their normal lives every day, while their southern towns benefit exclusively from billions of dollars of taxpayer funding for our military. I want to see the day when they close a base down south and move the units to Pennsylvania, where they belong.

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I'm glad that the Pittsburgh AFR base will stay open and have an interesting new mission, per se, but frustrated at the losses (and proposed closures) in the Northeast. This is ridiculous. I understand why the openess 9and to some extent climate) of the West makes sense for bases and their training, as is the case for the South, but the Northeast corridor, needs to have ready forces in their backyard. There are too many people in this region to always be high on the BRAC list. I know this is more complex and greater strategies are being suggested for these closings, but come on, hell, even Mass., was too far for fighters to get to NYC on 9/11 in time.

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^^I saw that Willow Grove will most likely be saved as a NG Airbase, still it's a big shrinkage from what it once was :(

Mj I agree the NE should have more bases and more of a role, beyond defending America (which theoritcally one could argue that Andrews and Wright Patterson could in a modern airforce defend the entire E. Coast) it is important that bases near population centers like NYC and Philly and Boston and Pittsburgh stay open as a tangible recruitment and training and reserve center for the hundreds of thousands that might choose to go into the military. If you want to join and live in Brooklyn but know if you go reserve you would have to go to Maryland or Dix etc. then you would be more hestitant. That is one of the arguments being made by Pittsburgh, if you strip all of our bases then Pittsburgh kids that would like to join up but after a few years have NO reserve option close to their hometown (driving to Youngstown or Charleston etc.) then why go military?

As far as your statement about bases in Mass. not even getting to WTC in time on 9/11, it never hurts to have bases close to big cities, however I think even Andrews or Willow Grove could have gotten there like lightning with tons of time to spare--the major system failure on 9/11 was that air traffic was never really trained to call up the FAA (not since the late 70s really) and report a hijacking, no one knew really how to go about this--no real world experience or training--then the FAA is sitting there wondering well I think we need to call the Air Force right? Who do we call? They get patched over to the Air Reserve by a clueless operator and the Reserve in that now infamous audio tape that is played on the History Channel and on PBS documentaries replies in almost a southern good 'ol boy way, "oh this is non-exercise", "this real world or exercise?" "oh this is real world?".

The jets did get there pretty fast from the time that the Reserve and the command structure was alerted, but just that statement by the initial reserve contact goes to show how utterly unprepared we were to intercept threats on the inside of our defense boundaries by civilian aircraft. Add to that the utter shock that no demands and no landing and hostage standoff took place on 9/11, all the feds were getting prepared for a standoff at JFK and a list of demands, no one at least in the foxholes were prepared to handle kamakazi planes.

I think to be fair even an air base in Brooklyn would have been in stupified shock over 9/11, the Air Reserve--although they did respond--took it as almost a courtesy mission to observe until they landed someplace and made demands. I don't think any of them were mentally prepared to go over shooting down a passenger jet.

But I do feel for recruiting and reserves Northeastern bases are vitally important.

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You guys are giving too much credance to there being a legitimate national defense strategy behind these closings. There's no need to go any further than politics of the pork barrel variety, IMO. We've had proposals of the type where they'd put the nation's entire fleet of a strategic bomber to where else except Peal Harbor 2, Texas, shift even more of the military to the South and away from cities where recruitment will be heavily dominated by southern Republicans (NOT a good idea) and feed everyone's tax payer funded savings accounts into the Red State economy, etc. Since when did this administration actually seem to care about either recruitment goals or national security?

I'm not hearing anything at all about funding cuts or personell downsizing unless someone wants to correct me, what I've heard about is a restructuring of forces towards the south supposedly in order to streamline logistics. The climate of the West and the South being conducive to training is a joke. I've trained in both the South and the West in black flag summers and it wasn't fun or conducive to anything but heat strokes, hurricanes, and wildfires. Whose good idea would it be to fire heavy weapons into a field of dry grass and dead brown shrubs in California? How about spending a week or two every summer boarding up windows and hunkering down on the ground floors of barracks in South Carolina? How about humping 18 miles in 98 degree heat?

Meanwhile it all goes contrary to what military analysts are forecasting for our long-term military strategy of shifting towards future threats from the likes of China, North Korea (anyone heard of the frozen chosin?), even southern South America. Those good ol' boys from the deep south have never even seen snow in their lives let alone know how to function in it. That's on top of anything that has to do with homeland security, where we're shifting our forces from defending target-rich areas to relatively target-poor ones.

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I don't give to much credence to it, but my response probably did. You would think that this would make people all over the country scratch their heads, but then again some many things in the last few years should make Americans really wonder and question, but they don't.

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That is so true, everything in Washington, no matter how "non-partisan" always boils down to local politics.

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