Saving Moody

Next summer Congress will get its first draft of the military's base closure list, but the real work is going on now to keep local bases open.

Cong. Jack Kingston says he's got several reasons to be cautiously optimistic that Moody can be protected from the next base closure list.

Community leaders from around south Georgia met with Cong. Jack Kingston in Valdosta on Monday. During the meeting, Kingston told the crowd that they still need to be persistent with their message that Moody Air Force Base is best suited to grow, rather than be closed.

"I think we have to make sure that the message is still loud and clear in Washington that this area is ready for opportunities and expansions," says Rep. Jack Kingston.

Base leaders recently told community leaders they were doing everything possible to keep the base open, and those local leaders think the base is in a better situation now than it was during the first round of base closing back in the early '90s.

"We are in better shape now. We've learned from experience some of the problems they brought up the first time and they're just not there anymore. So, those should be non-issues now," says Rod Casey, Chairman of the Lowndes County Commission.

In addition to being optimistic about staying off the base closure list, Cong. Kingston thinks this area might actually benefit from the closing of other bases.

While there is cautious optimism among local leaders, there is no a sense of confidence. Everyone understands that nothing is certain until the president approves the final list sometime in 2005.

Elected leaders feel that the base is in a better position now than it was in the early 90s because Moody has been expanded from a single command base, to a four command base, meaning its role in the Air Force is more important now than it was 10 years ago.