12/12/12 — Perdue, McCrory to visit Seymour Johnson Air Force Base

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Perdue, McCrory to visit Seymour Johnson Air Force Base

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on December 12, 2012 1:46 PM

Neither of their camps will comment on the reason behind their visit, but Gov. Bev Perdue and Gov.-elect Pat McCrory are scheduled to make a stop at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base Friday.

4th Fighter Wing officials confirmed that the two would be on the installation, but beyond that, little is known about their objective -- the governor's press office said that until "all the details are finalized," it would not be disclosing the purpose of the visit, or the trips to Fort Bragg, Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point also scheduled to unfold that day.

Military Affairs Committee Chairman Ben Seegers, though, said he has known about what is expected to be a brief stint in Goldsboro for several weeks -- that he and other members of the MAC have been asked to present information on the contentious Pantego wind farm project and encroachment.

Even so, he said his understanding is that "the purpose of the trip is more about continuity," as the transition from the Perdue administration to McCrory's continues.

"I think it's fantastic," Seegers said. "They are both very interested in the continued success and growth of the military, so I think we're in a good spot. They know that we can't afford to drop the ball on any of the needs of the military in North Carolina."

Perdue has made several trips to Wayne County since she took office in 2008.

Most recently, in July, she chose Goldsboro as the setting for the signing of House Bill 799 into law -- a move that enabled military-trained applicants and military-spouse applicants who held professional licenses in another state to receive occupational licenses here.

And last September, the governor met with local leaders at Walnut Creek Country Club for what she characterized as an "honest discussion" about issues that would likely come to the surface should Seymour Johnson face another BRAC.

Seegers, local elected officials and other military advocates, currently believe the biggest threat to the base is the proposed wind farm project they have been asked to brief McCrory on Friday.

The Pantego Project, an effort that would see approximately 50 500-foot turbines constructed on an 11,000-acre tract in Beaufort County, would encroach, they said, on "the Air Force's primary low-altitude training route, the final segment leading directly into the Dare County Bombing Range" and, as a result, jeopardize Seymour Johnson's ability to train the Air Force's future generations of F-15E Strike Eagle crews.

For more details about the governor and governor-elect's trip to Goldsboro as they are released, follow the News-Argus in print and at www.NewsArgus.com