06/24/05 — Best of the best: Why our SJAFB came out on top

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Best of the best: Why our SJAFB came out on top

Most of us have felt comfortable about the future of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. But there was an understandable uneasiness as all bases were being scrutinized under the Base Realignment and Closure mandate.

Some of the 157 bases definitely were going to be closed, some reduced in size.

It was reassuring to us that Seymour Johnson not only was spared, but will gain in military and civilian personnel.

We can take particular pride in how the Air Force viewed our base.

It listed all 157 bases in eight mission categories: Fighter; bomber; airlift; tanker; space operations; special operations and rescue; unmanned aerial vehicles; and command and control and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

Interestingly, the assessments were based not on how units at the bases were performing at present, but the potential of the bases in future military commitments.

Of all 157 installations, our Seymour Johnson AFB was rated by the Air Force as number one in three of the eight future missions and among the top five in two others.

No other base in the country came close to ours in the overall ratings.

Seymour Johnson was number one in both the fighter and bomber categories and, surprisingly, in the unmanned aerial vehicles category. It was second in airlift and fourth in its potential for special operations and combat search and rescue.

What were the criteria?

Bases were rated on the basis of access to training ranges, encroachment, air traffic control restrictions, weather, housing costs, ramp, hangar and runway sizes and acreage available for expansion.

Seymour Johnson obviously ranked high in most of these.

It is interesting that community relations was not among the factors on which bases were scored. Perhaps all communities have done well in this regard. But surely none could have exceeded Goldsboro, Wayne County and North Carolina in the genuine welcome and cooperation given our military.

Indeed, some of Seymour Johnson’s high rankings in the listed criteria reflect the ongoing support of our community and a number of dedicated individuals acting in behalf of the Air Force.

Another interesting observation made by the Air Force was that its people tend to do exceptionally well no matter where they are assigned.

That speaks well of the professionalism of those men and women in uniform — those who are our fellow citizens and those in other base communities.

The BRAC decisions — and explanations of how they were arrived upon — can make all of us proud.

Published in Editorials on June 24, 2005 11:33 AM