5/22 BRAC letters to the editor

Editor’s note: Most of the following letters were edited heavily for space considerations.

Battle to keep Cannon open not lost
When I first heard that Cannon Air Force Base was on the Base Realignment and Closure list, I simply could not believe it.

My own 31-year Air Force career ended at Cannon in 1973. As a former base commander, I’m very familiar with all the reasons for keeping Cannon on the active list. I’m also quite familiar with most of the bases not on the BRAC list.

Cannon’s location, weather, proximity to an air-ground bombing range (Melrose), low-density commercial traffic, outstanding base facilities and fabulous community support should put Cannon at the very top of the list of those bases to be kept and cherished.

Without denigrating any of the other bases, the sheer quantity of air traffic that some of them are exposed to should put them ahead of Cannon for closure. Air traffic alone is a factor seldom given enough importance in a question such as this.

The Committee of Fifty has more experience on this subject than anyone that I’m familiar with. The group has saved Cannon a few times already. Although some of the old-timers are long passed, I’m sure their replacements are totally capable. My suggestion is to give them the total support they need and let them have at it. Don’t make the mistake of diluting the effort into too many channels.

In closing, the battle is not lost. Don’t even discuss defeat. Cannon is truly the Air Force jewel of fighter aviation.

William T. Creech
El Paso, Texas

More effort needed to get base off list
We must do more to influence the BRAC commissioners to reconsider the closure of Cannon Air Force Base.

The funds raised for lobby efforts is less than half of 1 percent in comparison to the $200 million annual economic impact to our communities.

Lubbock fought a similar strategy of sending a few delegates, mailing letters to their congressional leaders and lining the streets to show support for Reese AFB when the BRAC commissioners visited in the 1990s. Those efforts failed.

Our local communities and groups need to plan a series of bus trips, sending as many citizens as possible to be present at BRAC meetings and visit congressional offices. The people attending must wear jackets, vests, shirts, hats or buttons stating “Closing Cannon Air Force Base is a MISTAKE” or something similar that will make a strong statement.

The few selected delegates we have speaking on our behalf are fine, but it makes their job a lot easier when they can point to a bipartisan crowd with the same view. A united group of people also makes an impact with congressional leaders. These volunteers can be coached during the trip about strategies and behavior to ensure we have a united front.

The volunteers should be provided transportation and lodging where their only expense is meals. The business owners and employers should be pressured to encourage their employees to take the time off and go on one of the bus trips. After all, their employees would be working to help save their owner’s business from hardship. A business owner may offer an expense account to cover meals.

The efforts our communities make need to have a significant impact; if the BRAC report remains intact; at least we made every effort. A tradeoff is other companies will take notice of Clovis/Portales and may consider taking a look at expansion opportunities.

Keep your eye on the ball.

Roy A. Seay

Assigning blame won’t help Cannon
Day after day we hear news related to the proposed base closure, and day after day it gets dirtier.

I can’t believe we are now blaming President Bush. This is just unreal. Michael D. Montoya of California sure likes to hit below the belt.

Let’s stop blaming someone and fight to keep Cannon.

I believe we need to keep writing letters, but to the Brac Commission people and not worthless letters to the paper; that’s just a waste. I also believe we need to have a plan B.
I came from three other closure bases and today all three are doing well in their economics.

Steve Gershon

Writing letters can have serious impact
As I have been reading the excellent and positive letters to the editor for the past few days, I am reminded of the point made in Monday’s town hall meeting by Sen. Stuart Ingle, R-Portales.

Sen. Ingle noted the great impact that hundreds or thousands of personally written letters might have if mailed directly to the nine BRAC commissioners.

If the writers in Clovis have not already done so, I sincerely hope they will take the time to send copies of their letters to each BRAC member.

Debra Harrell