Moody could land prime mission - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Moody could land prime mission

June 20, 2007


Lowndes County -- Moody Air Force Base is one of three bases in the running for a new military training program.  Arnold Air Force Base in Tennessee and Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana are the competition.

A recent study says a move to Moody may not be in the best interest of the community, but the community disagrees.

Moody Air Force Base is one of three bases being considered for the Common Battlefield Airmen Training Program, or CBAT, that will offer ground combat training to airmen preparing for deployment.

If chosen, an additional 800 airmen will be permanently stationed in Valdosta, and 14,000 more would train at Moody each year, adding even more fuel to one of the county's largest economic engines.

"You can just imagine the economic impact it could bring, not only to Moody Air Force Base and to the community, but we've got to get these people in and out of here, so our airport," said Tim Carroll of the GA Military Affairs Committee.

But a recent Environmental Impact Study red-flagged many categories, including schools and wildlife habitats, saying the potential impact of the program could negatively affect these areas.

Community officials don't think so and will conduct a study of their own.

"After studying the data they used, we discovered it's rather shallow in those areas, and we'll get it documented that we don't agree," said Carroll.

In fact, they say Moody has a leg up on the other bases, since it's home to the 820th Security Forces Group, one of the Air Force's only ground combat units. They currently utilize many existing training facilities, found no where else but Moody, which could offer CBAT students additional training opportunities.

Congressman Jack Kingston who represents Georgia's First district said, "it would not be that big of a transformation for Moody, because you already do have up armored humvees, small arms training and things like that."

The facility is sill in the planning stages, and the Air Force is expected to announce the location of the program in January of 2008.

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