Just got back from the Gates County meeting.
The Navy is not focusing on correcting the encroachment issues around Oceana and Fentress. All they care about is this second OLF.
Talked with one of the pilots who have to practice and who grades other pilots on how well they perform FCLPs. Great guy, wonderful pilot, concerned for the people he observes, dedicated to keeping his pilots safe. We talked about the mass muscle memory etc that FCLP operations enable. Oceana does not meet his needs. Fentress does not meet his needs. The Navy is not concerned with correcting this. Adm. Nathman's statement of Jan 2007 "the fidelity at Oceana and Fentress is terrible, this is not a place to train young pilots" while valid, is not being addressed by the Navy. It is for Virginia Beach to correct. Virginia Beach has stated they will not condemn any property. impasse. Our pilots lose.
Talked with other Navy representatives. Talked about the viability of Oceana. That is not a concern to the Navy. BRAC came and BRAC left, but Oceana is still here. Oceana will be here for the foreseeable future.
My biggest concern is for our pilots. Many of us want what is best for the guys/gals flying to protect us. Our pilots deserve a first-rate master jet base as well as an OLF that meets the pilot's needs. The master jet base must be able to train our pilots and give them the best possible. Oceana and Fentress will not do that, but the only thing the Navy wants is a second OLF. This OLF by what I heard tonight WILL be the primary OLF. Fentress will be the overflow and Oceana will do minimal to no practices. The Navy is bowing to political and people pressure based on the noise complaints. Our pilots cannot utilize Oceana in a manor that is best for them. The Navy is not addressing that with this NEPA study. They feel that is a separate problem.
The Navy is going to make one of these 5 sites work. Because they cannot fix Oceana, they must push most of their training to the OLFs. Fentress's training is just as bad, so that means for our pilots, a second OLF is needed. That is how the Navy's need statement is being generated. I do not condone this statement, but the conclusions based on the people I talked to justify this statement. I still advocate that the Navy does not require this OLF. Only because of encroachment can an arguement be made for need. Bad, bad, bad.
We cannot fix our problem, so lets go someplace else and get our training in. Virginia, you can keep your revenue, but we need to practice.
So for the mismanagement of Virginia Beach and because it will be to dang costly to get another MJB, a community is going to be sacrificed. 40% chance (suspect it will be higher) that a North Carolina site is selected.
Thank you Virginia Beach.
But wait, there is more. Not as good, sigh.
This scoping meeting had no data to substantiate any claims the Navy had regarding the notice of intent. Nothing for anyone to sink their teeth into.
The Navy acknowledged that the SEIS was abandoned and the 5 original sites are done.
No new record of decision will be generated concerning Alternative 6 with or without an OLF. The Navy said the record of decision about the Alternative is valid, but the data that supports it is invalid. Yea, go figure. The Navy does not want that data to be going forward. The Navy is going to change the data regardless of the fact that all the planes were identified and listed in the first NEPA study. We are not suppose to know that I guess.
I could not ask the right question to get the Navy to answer about the two squadrons for Cherry Point. Did not really think to ask it. It seems like they will eventually get em, 2010 maybe? Who knows.
Asked about the siting study and what document was utilized to get down to these 5 sites and the Navy stated that they are generating and finalizing that document. It will be presented with the DEIS. So we will get the justification for picking the 5 sites when the DEIS comes out. So the five communities will be told why the Navy is coming to them in a year or two.
For those who have read this far, I am sorry it is so long, and seems negative. What I see is the Navy feels it must get an OLF. This is a political move now. The only thing I can hope for is Virginia made the deal with the Navy and not NC politicians. Someone made a deal somewhere to give the Navy an OLF. One community is about to be ramroded and 4 other communities are going to suffer the anguish for a few years until the "decision" is announced.
If you want to know what community is going to be sacrificed, the one were their representative will not come out and say NO OLF at my site, that community had better look out. Just my opinion.
This blog input is probably more of a historical entry then one to be commented on. I needed to get these thoughts down before I lost them.
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