2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: cpeo <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 21 Apr 2003 14:36:16 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Possibility of military cuts threatens Houston's air defense
Possibility of military cuts threatens Houston's air defense
Houston Chronicle
April 21, 2003

A crackling roar reverberates from the F-16 fighter jet as it darts
across Houston's skies at more than 600 miles per hour.

It has become a comforting sound to emergency management officials
working below to protect one of the seven cities designated most likely
to be attacked by terrorists.

In a recent show of alertness, fighter jets zoomed into the air after a
commercial airline pilot accidentally signalled that the craft was being
hijacked. The airliner was escorted to the ground.

Yet some military experts worry the fighter jets stationed at Ellington
Field -- Houston's only military air defense installation -- might be
moved elsewhere.

"I believe we have a 50-50 chance to lose them. Some say it won't
happen. But others think it definitely will," said Eugene Tulich,
chairman of the Houston Military Affairs Committee, a military support

The 147th Fighter Wing of the Texas Air National Guard and several
smaller units of the Texas Army National Guard at Ellington are coming
under scrutiny, as is every other military installation in the nation.

These units infuse at least $50 million into the Houston economy that
could be lost if they are relocated, Tulich estimates.

It is all a part of the newest "BRAC," or Base Realignment and Closure,
authorized by Congress two years ago. The Department of Defense must
complete the plan by 2005.

During four previous base realignments in the past 15 years, Texas has
lost 10 major military installations, including a naval station in
Galveston in 1988.

"The newest BRAC is predicted to be the largest ever. Possibly 25
percent of the bases may be closed. Especially those with a single
mission and expensive to operate," said state Sen. Eliot Shapleigh, D-El
Paso, chairman of a Senate subcommittee on the closures.

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