Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Congressman Harold Ford Jr. Introduces Legislation To Block Closing Of 118th Air Lift Wing

Following President Bush's submission of the Base Closure and Realignment Commission's base closure plan to Congress last week, Congressman Harold Ford today introduced a resolution to block implementation of the plan.

In a statement, Ford said:

"Now is not the time to close bases. With almost 140,000 American troops serving in Iraq, 17,000 American troops serving in Afghanistan and more than 60,000 troops on the ground or aboard ships helping with relief and recovery efforts in the Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina, our military is already overstretched.

Closing bases would only exacerbate the problem, especially since many of the units that President Bush recommends closing - such as the 118th Air Lift Wing based in Nashville - are critical to our nation's security.

"In the last three weeks, the men and women of the 118th have served their state, nation, and fellow Americans well by flying 100 missions to assist the Katrina relief efforts. All told, the 118th has delivered 175 tons of supplies and materiel and transported 142 patients to safety. Closing units like the 118th Airlift Wing in Nashville would seriously impede our ability to recover from natural disasters and protect us from terrorist attacks.

"It makes little sense to close or realign 28 major military installations and cut 29,000 military and civilian jobs while we are in the midst of major combat operations abroad and major relief efforts here at home. Yet that is exactly what the BRAC Commission's plan would do. That is why I introduced a resolution of opposition today that seeks to block implementation of the bases closures.

"The devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina makes clear that we need to keep all resources available to be able to respond quickly and effectively when duty calls. Closing bases now would leave us less secure and would be a disservice to the people of this nation."