News Release: Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce
VALDOSTA – The South Georgia Military Affairs Council (SGMAC) hosted U.S. Representative Austin Scott for a press conference at the Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber on Thursday.
The South Georgia Military Affairs Council is comprised of four area chambers of commerce, including Adel-Cook, Lakeland-Lanier, Nashville-Berrien, and Valdosta-Lowndes. The primary focus of the group is the protection of and community support for Moody AFB.
Current discussion regarding the A-10 mission suggests that should the President’s budget proposals be passed, the divestment of aircraft will begin in 2015. The early retirement of the A-10 would mean a significant loss for Moody AFB, and would mean a considerable impact on the local economy.
At the press conference, Rep. Scott announced the possibility that Moody AFB may soon take part in a new mission to train Afghani pilots. Rep. Scott explained that Moody is one of three bases being considered for this mission which would bring about 120 pilots and aircraft servicemen to Valdosta for training. The selection for mission placement will be announced in August of this year.
Mayor John Gayle, County Commission Chairman Bill Slaughter, and Co-chairs of SGMAC Michael Lee and Nick Lacey voiced support for the proposal and encouraged the leaders of the business community to get behind the efforts to acquire the new mission.
“We as a community are encouraged that the Air Force is looking at Moody for this mission. We’re honored to be one of only three bases being considered, and we are confident that this is a good thing for Moody,” said Lee.
Support for the acquisition of the mission was unanimous amidst the leaders present. “This isn’t a new thing,” said Nick Lacey. “The United States trains foreign military every day. The Air Force has been doing this kind of thing for years. I have personally been involved in similar missions. This is a very good thing for Moody, and we’re hopeful that we’ll be successful in gaining this mission.”
Those in attendance included members of SGMAC, the Valdosta Chamber Board of Directors, the Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber Community Council, and Lowndes County and Valdosta City officials and other prominent area leaders.
For more information about SGMAC and the Chamber’s Government Affairs Program, please contact Miranda Moore at (229) 247-8100 ext. 231.