By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Alabama Lt. Governor Kay Ivey (R) has announced that she has launched a tour of Alabama military installations.
Lt. Gov. Ivey said in a written statement, “My time in office can be characterized by my efforts to support our military. Strengthening our military assets has been a primary pillar of my service. I have long been an ardent patriot and supporter of our military men and women. My father, an Army officer, fought on the battlefields in Europe during World War II. Throughout my years in public service, I have encouraged our youth to become citizen leaders and serve their communities, State, and Nation. Like most Alabamians, patriotism is one of my core values.”
Lt. Gov. Ivey is the Chair of the Jobs Creation and Military Stability Commission (MSC) which is tasked with developing a coordinated, statewide approach to protecting and strengthening Alabama’s military bases so we don’t lose bases from the anticipated next round of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) cuts.
Lt. Gov. Ivey said, “Alabama is home to four major military installations: Maxwell Air Force Base, Ft. Rucker Army Post, Anniston Army Depot, and Redstone Arsenal. Nearly 12,000 active duty members, 22,000 Reserve and National Guard personnel, and more than 420,000 veterans live in Alabama. In these times of persistent conflict, the Department of Defense looks to Alabama to complete missions that are vital to our Nation’s overall defense strategy. Our service men and women have answered the call time and time again.”
The Conservative Lt. Governor continued, “Military in our State is not only critical to our national security, but it’s a major economic engine. And like any engine, it needs maintenance. Local communities surrounding the military installations and State leaders have a great responsibility to maintain and retain the military’s interests and secure those assets. MSC started from the ground up. We assembled a group of top-notch retired military officers, local officials, business leaders, and state lawmakers. Now for the first time, military officials, the business community, and state leaders are communicating in an intentional and strategic way.”
Ivey said that she has recently launched a tour of several military installations, including Guard and Reserve units. These trips are focused on meeting with leadership and studying and discussing the critical needs of Alabama’s military bases. Ivey said that there’s no replacement for first-hand experience and face-to-face communication.
Ivey wrote in her statement, “I began the tour at the 908th Airlift Wing at Maxwell Air Force Base where I met with Wing Commander Colonel Adam Willis and other key leadership. The 908th has an impressive 50-year history and is strategically located to carry out combat support and humanitarian missions on a workhorse of an aircraft, the C-130. The 908th generates a $69.3 million economic impact and employs 1,200 people. Typical of military units, it’s a well-oiled machine. Airmen take great care and personal pride in their work, and it shows. I enjoyed meeting the C-130 pilots and navigators and exploring the giant aircraft. It’s no wonder the C-130 has been in continuous production longer than any other military aircraft. It’s truly a marvel of American ingenuity and engineering that has stood the test of time.”
The C-130 can transport utility helicopters, armored vehicles, personnel, wounded, and standard palletized cargo up to 42,000 pounds to and from combat or natural disaster zones utilizing less than desirable runways or airdrop its load directly to U.S. forces.
Col. Willis showed Ivey the aging control tower and hangars that need improvement. The condition and capabilities of facilities are important factor in the BRAC process, where Congress and the Pentagon decide whether a state gets to keep its military base or not.
Ivey said, “The C-130 is important to the 908th and the 908th is important to Alabama. The MSC is committed to providing the 908th with the support it needs to continue its mission. Over the next few months, I will visit other military installations and I look forward to reviewing their needs. Congress has not decided when it will authorize the next round of BRAC, but we are on the right track to be ready when it does.”
For the last five years the United States has been cutting its defense capabilities and hollowing out its force anticipating peace in the Middle East that never actually comes. U.S. armed forces are currently engaged in Iraq fighting ISIS and providing aid to refugees. A smaller force needs fewer military bases.
Lt. Governor Kay Ivey his running for a second term. Her opponent in the November General Election is former Cullman State Representative James Fields (D).