BRAC brings bad news for some - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

BRAC brings bad news for some

June 23, 2005

Valdosta - News that Moody was spared from the BRAC list, and would likely gain new missions, brought a sigh of relief to everyone in Lowndes County. "We were happy just like everyone else," said Dave Craft.

But then these contract employees heard the plans to move the 479th Training Unit to other bases. "We all realized at that point that our jobs were in jeopardy or were going to go away," said Don Williams.

"That was like getting punched in the stomach to me," said Mark Giglio.

The Department of Defense recommended that Moody get about 50 A-10 Warthogs from other bases, along with a maintenance facility for the aircraft. The base will see a net gain of about 575 military and civilian jobs, but that's not including 400 contract jobs that could be lost. "When the airplanes get wherever they're going, some of us may be able to be absorbed at other bases," said Craft.

But these men say they love living in Lowndes County. "My family's all here, my kids, my grandchildren," said Don Williams.

And if they do choose to stay, they'll likely have to take a pay cut. "There's not the paying jobs here in Valdosta that pay what these jobs pay," said Craft.

They're hoping realignment plans will change and Moody will be able to retain the air training command, not just so they can keep their jobs, but also for the bases sake. "That's probably one of the most vital missions that any base wants to have and retain, especially in light of any future base closures," said Williams.

"The training mission is an ongoing thing, it will never go away, you'll always need pilots," said Craft.

President Bush will approve or disapprove the BRAC recommendations in November. Until then, these men will wait and pray that they can keep the jobs they enjoy so much.

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