8/28 BRAC Letters to the editor

Editor’s note: The Base Closure and Realignment Commission voted Friday to move planes and personnel away from Cannon, as recommended by the Department of Defense. But commissioners ordered Cannon “enclaved,” or open in limited fashion, until Dec. 31, 2009, in hopes DoD will find it another mission.

Here are excerpts from some of the e-mailed letters received Friday and Saturday. Excerpts from more letters will be published Tuesday and later this week.

Rumsfeld should visit Cannon personally
It is true that as the planes and associated troops leave there will be an impact on our economy even if another mission is found for Cannon. What we have the opportunity to do about it now is support our representatives as they begin their work with DoD so that any down time between now and then will be minimized.

The sooner a new mission is identified, the shorter the economic impact will be.

We can also start deluging Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s office with letters asking him to personally come tour this base and see for himself the many possibilities that exist here.

The BRAC commissioners have already questioned him about the flawed data used in this equation but he needs to see why that data is flawed with his own eyes.

Jonathan La Vine

Planners should rethink base’s value
My wife and I now live in the Orlando, Fla., area, but our hearts are always with you in spirit since we both grew up in New Mexico, her in Carlsbad and myself in Portales, graduating from high school in Fort Sumner in 1962. We became acquainted at Eastern New Mexico University.

Many times over the years, Dad, Mom and our family would be in the back yard and one or two of those spectacular Cannon jets would fly over, piloted by America’s finest. The discussion would quickly turn to how fast they were flying, or where the training mission was taking them.

It is very difficult for the average citizen to comprehend even the possibility of closing such a vital military facility as Cannon Air Force Base.

One has to wonder how the “planners” have become so sure that this geographic part of the USA would never need defending or why the certain need for such a fine training facility has now arbitrarily become so significantly diminished.

We can hope the “planners” will decide to use Cannon for the new F-35s and keep it open, but in the meantime we will continue to add your readers to our prayers, and hope those responsible for making this base decision will urgently come to their senses.

Vic Fitzgerald
Zellwood, Fla.

Enclave decision may hurt more than help
I must admit the BRAC decision to keep Cannon as an enclave is a disappointing one for myself. Now before the citizens of Clovis and the surrounding area bring out the tar and feathers, let me explain.

I believe the decision should have been to either keep Cannon completely open or completely close it.

It’s not that I’m against Cannon. My grandma was a “Rosie the Riveter” at the base during World War II and my mom spent some of her early childhood years out there.

Cannon has been a part of this community for so many years and is actually what brought my father out here from Alabama, leading to the marriage of my parents. So I hold a special place for Cannon in my heart.

However, this enclave decision will not provide income to our community and it will not bring back the hundreds of lost jobs. I feel that to go ahead and close Cannon completely would actually open up some opportunity to our community and its citizens.

It has been rumored that several major companies have expressed an interest in buying the base facilities upon Cannon’s closing in order to bring in new industry to the area. This would provide replacement jobs to those who have lost their previous ones at the base and open up more jobs to others who are currently seeking employment.

I do not see the BRAC decision as a victory for us, but rather an obstacle in our moving forward to a brighter future, standing on our own two feet successfully.

Jennifer Brandon

Cannon needs new mission quickly
I was stationed at Cannon AFB for five years in the weather station. I remember clearly the base as it was — the crisp mornings and brilliant sunsets, the high school football games, all the motorcycle rides and my friends.

The day I left was cloudy and wet, gas was $1.13 at the Allsups behind my place on Connelly, and I didn’t want to go.

I was very happy to hear on the radio that Cannon had been “saved.” The AP account I found on-line was much less assuring. What you have is not a save, it is a reprieve — a stay of execution.

Don’t let up now. The Committee of Fifty needs to be Five Thousand. Find your base a mission.

Dana Shifflett
Newton, Kan.

BRAC decision not necessarily victory
I’m not sure I fully understand what I just watched concerning the future of Cannon. And I’m not sure this community is better off for the BRAC decision.

If CAFB had remained open with its fighter wing intact, our revenues would have continued. If it had closed, it would have allowed (read forced) the community to search for new occupants to generate new revenues.

But as it stands now, what I think will happen is the wing will leave as will all the personnel. The base will fall back to what amounts to caretaker status with just enough of a skeleton crew to keep the infrastructure intact and remain under the control of the federal government.

My best guess as to the new population would be just a few hundred personnel at best. With this in mind, it could be possible that services available at CAFB will also be cut back or eliminated.

CAFB will become essentially a ghost town and the town’s revenues will still go from some $200 million-plus per year down to a few million at best.

So did we win? I think not. And since we went against the DoD, just how hard do you think they will look for a new mission for Cannon?

Bob Baker