2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 31 Jul 2003 17:21:54 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Navy makes its case for OLF in the East
North Carolina
Navy makes its case for OLF in the East
By Rachel Brown Hackney
July 31, 2003

HAVELOCK -- The commander of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet on Wednesday sought
to reassure local government officials and news media representatives
from Eastern North Carolina that Washington County residents will be
compensated adequately for the loss of property to make way for an
outlying landing field to support the training of F/A-18 E/F Super
Hornet pilots.

Adm. Robert J. Natter also emphasized the importance of the OLF to
prepare pilots for new military campaign strategies developed in
response to the United States' ongoing fight against terrorism.

The final environmental impact statement on the basing of the Super
Hornets on the East Coast, released July 18, says the preferred
alternative is for two squadrons to go to Cherry Point Marine Corps Air
Station in Havelock and eight to go to Oceana Naval Air Station in
Virginia Beach, Va. A replacement squadron of 24 aircraft also will go
to Oceana.

The FEIS also calls for an OLF to be built in Washington County, partly
because that site is nearly equidistant between the two air stations.

During a press conference in a hangar just off the flight line at Cherry
Point, Natter said of the Washington County OLF site, "I've worked on
this (issue) personally for over three years ... and I think this is the
best location."

That process included researching more than 70 sites. "We didn't pay
attention to state borders. We didn't pay attention to county borders,"
he said.

During an earlier, "editorial board" session with approximately 10 print
and TV journalists, Dan Cecchini, project manager for the environmental
impact statement on the Super Hornets, said information about wetlands,
population centers and wildlife was considered in the effort to
determine the best OLF site.

"It was really a whittling-down process," he added.

Natter was asked whether the Navy ultimately had decided wetlands
concerns were more problematic than wildlife concerns, as the Washington
County site is only five miles from the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife
Refuge, home to thousands of migratory birds in the winter.

Environmental groups have raised concerns that pilots could be killed or
injured through airstrikes involving some of the birds in the area of
the refuge.

Natter responded, "We do not intend to do low-levels (of flight) over
that (refuge)." He added that a study of the wildfowl population there
did not indicate a greater presence of migratory birds than at other
sites already used by the Navy.

This article can be viewed at:

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