Is MCLB Albany at a high-risk for closure? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Is MCLB Albany at a high-risk for closure?

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Albany- The list was compiled from comments by military experts and historical trends but Chamber of Commerce President Tim Martin says the list is bogus.

The Marine Corps Logistics Base in Albany is one of only two bases in the U-S supplying troops with much needed materials in Iraq. "What we do is very very important. What we do is needed by the marines," says Martin.

Armored vehicles are very much needed for the war effort. Assault vehicles are protected because of the work done in Albany, Georgia. Next month, the base may possibly be on a list to close but Martin says, "there's still time now between now and May 16th to stay off the May 16th list."

The Southwest Georgia Alliance is working hard to do just that. The base is one of four noted on a preliminary list as high-risk for closure but officials say that list is unfounded. "There's today, no list. Anything that you see and hear is bogus. There will not be a list until May the 16th," says Martin.

May 16th is when Secretary Of Defense Donald Rumsfeld will give the Base Realignment and Closure Commission his list of suggested closures but if MCLB Albany is on that list, it's still not the end. "It's serious but it's not final and we'll have opportunities, many opportunities to tell our story to the BRAC commission and to others," says Martin.

They're telling their story to as many people as possible. "We're talking to United States Senators. We're talking to Congressmen. We're meeting with the Governor and other state officials," says Martin. To make sure the base stays off the May 16th list and off of the final list in September. Officials are optimistic that Albany will pull through.

"We believe that what we do is absolutely vital to protect our nation's interest and we believe at the end of the day after all is said and done, Albany will still be open," says Martin. But they're also looking at worst case scenarios just in case.

Martin says, "This is a strong community. It's very, very resilient. We have dealt with high winds and high waters for years, plant closings and other setbacks. This is a community that can weather those kinds of storms."

Storms they hope Albany won't have to deal with.

There is also a gag order at the base. Workers had to sign a non-disclosure paper so they're not allowed to talk until after the first official list is released on May 16th. The final list will be released on September 8th.

posted by len.kiese@walb.com