Steve Ford Nails Navy

Steve Ford, editorial page editor at the News and Observer, comes through loud and clear today on the Outlying Landing Field controversy. He's the first person I've read who gets right down to the real nitty-gritty behind this fiasco. His column discusses the relative merits of different proposed sites, including one in Craven County. But in passing, he hits on the Big Unspoken Truth about the Navy and the Navy pilots that are driving the OLF train off the cliff.

Not to slide too far down the conspiratorial slope, but is there also a worry that picking Craven County for the OLF would create pressure to move the whole Super Hornet operation to Cherry Point? Do Norfolk-area Navy folks not want to get stuck down in Marine Corps country?

This is what it all comes down to. The "right" place for the whole Super Hornet operation is indeed Cherry Point. Always has been, always will be. And what's the problem with Cherry Point? Just this: Navy pilots don't want to have to live with a bunch of high-and-tight Marines out in the boondocks.

Despite the fact that the Marines are part of the Navy, and despite the fact that hundreds of millions, if not billions, would be saved over the long term by consolidating the Super Hornets at Cherry Point, it offends the genteel sensibilities of Navy pilots to even consider being stationed in Marineland. And because of the Navy's arrogance, people all over North Carolina are having to fight for their lives and their livelihoods against a Navy run amok.


pathetic Senators – Dole, Burr

Back in 1993, BRAC because of supposedly excess facilities looked at the closing of Oceana or Cecil Field. The decision was to close Cecil Field, a political decision, and homebase the Hornet Squadrons at Cherry Point. Senator John Warner of Virginia got the rules changed so that the Hornet Squadrons would be homebased at Oceana, a political decision. Virginia gave the picture that Oceana and Fentress was the ideal location for the Hornet Squadrons with no conceivable problems although the encroachment problems already existed. The decision in 1993 should have been to close Oceana not Cecil Field. If that had been the case, this North Carolina OLF problem would not exist. If Cecil Field had been closed and the Hornet Squadrons hombased at Cherry Point as specified in the BRAC original plan, this North Carolina OLF problem would not exist.

The powerful politicians in Virginia and the Navy work together to control the military decisions. Our pathetic weak Senators – Dole, Burr – are willing to take the crumbs – two token squadrons at Cherry Point – when they should have been demanding that all the squadrons be homebased at Cherry Point where the existing surrounding military airfields could serve as OLFs.

Closing Cecil Field

may have made some citizens in Jacksonville happy -

but really, it was stupid.

Jax NAS is right there. That's where I used to go for medical care. Cecil was support for Jax. You can't fool me on FL ****. I used to live there.

And BRAC? The Navy didn't get the memo. They think it means:

Buy Real estate Anywhere you Can

yup yup

The Navy and the local governments where tossing around synergy and synergistic approach to management and training. With all the planes at Oceana, everything is right here in Oceana. Dont have to dual up simulators, training, and do not have to send folks up and down the East Coast to trouble shoot problems.

Everything is quickly shot around the Navy Air within a day, and you can walk to the decision makers and get things changed.

That is what the Navy and Virginia Beach sold the BRAC. Well, Myra, you got your planes, now do your responsibility and remove the encroachment around Oceana. The bases do have the capacity to do the mission, its just civilian encroachment and the Navy not efficently utilizing what they have.

The Navy needs to utilize these airfields to their capacity. Stoping flights at 11pm becuase its time for the boys to go home is not the answer. Building a second OLF so the boys can go home at 11pm is also not the answer. Not using these hours because you might wake folks up is not NC problem. Myra, you should not have allowed those houses to be built around the base. Fix your problem.

If darkness flights are so important, why is it that the normal operations go from 7am to 11pm? The typical Navy squadron runs two shifts from those hours. From 11pm to 6am is where most of the darkness time falls yet, the Navy does not have folks routinely working those hours. Only when forced to will they fly these hours.