Air Force Base for closure primarily due to degraded training effectiveness, air traffic congestion, and because of excess capacity within the category. The net cost of closure and relocation will be paid back immediately. The Commission expects annual savings to be $70.2 million.
The military value of George AFB is lower than other tactical-fighter installations due to its distance to specialized training ranges and the increasing air-traffic congestion in the vicinity of the base.
Training for George’s defense suppression units is hampered by a distance of over 150 nautical miles to an electronic combat training range. This results in a considerable waste of time and money flying to and from the range. All flight operations are constrained by increasing air traffic congestion in the greater Los Angeles area.
Other shortcomings of the installation include a shortage of facilities for operation and maintenance purposes. The water supply system is presently inadequate, and is scheduled for replacement in FY 1991. There are other deficiencies at George in the area of quality of life, the most prominent being a severe shortage of bachelor housing. The installation also has difficulty hiring civilian workers due to the demand for technically qualified workers in other industries within the civilian community.
George AFB is one of 11 Tactical Air Command tactical-fighter bases. The wings assigned there have the wartime mission of providing conventional tactical air support primarily in the defense suppression role as well as close air support, air interdiction, and counterair. The early retirement of the F-4 fighter aircraft from George, caused by a recent Air Force budget reduction, enabled the Commission to consolidate similar units. There is sufficient capacity within the tactical-fighter category to absorb the remaining units at other locations.
This closure will have no negative impact on the local environment. Cleanup of hazardous materials and waste contamination at George is covered by the Defense Environmental Restoration Program. Cleanup is independent of the closure. The movement of units currently assigned to George should not significantly alter the environmental situation at the gaining bases. There will, however, be a requirement for increased storage of hazardous waste at Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, and Cannon AFB, New Mexico. The Commission has been advised that these bases will have no difficulty providing the appropriate, conforming storage facilities required for the relocations.
This closure will have minimal impact on local employment.
The Commission recommends the following relocations of major units and related support activities:
— The 35th Tactical Training Wing and the 37th Tactical Fighter Wing (F-4E/G aircraft) to Mountain Home AFB. This move will enhance command and control by consolidating functions with EF-111 air defense suppression aircraft. The recent expansion of the electronic-combat and weapons ranges in the Mountain Home area provides the capability to relocate operational and training assets, which will increase efficiency and enhance mission effectiveness. To accommodate the move of the F-4E/G into Mountain Home, it will be necessary to move part of the 366th Tactical Fighter Wing (F-111E and F-111A aircraft) from Mountain Home to Cannon AFB. This will collocate all U.S.-based F-111 aircraft with a similar mission at a single base, improving command and co 11 t r o 1 enhancing mission effectiveness at a reduced cost. while
— The 27th Tactical Air Support Squadron (OV- 10 aircraft) will relocate to Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona. OV-10 aircraft are already stationed at Davis-Monthan, and consolidation of OV-10 aircraft there will improve command and control, and provide increased efficiency while enhancing mission effectiveness. To accommodate the additional OV-10 aircraft at Davis-Monthan, it will be necessary to move the 41st Electronic Combat Squadron (EC-130H aircraft) from Davis-Monthan to Bergstrom AFB, Texas. This relocation will absorb excess capacity and enhance the implementation of the tactical ground surveillance mission of the EC-130H at Bergstrom, AFB, provide increased efficiency, improve command and control, and reduce operating costs.
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Three retired Air Force officers say the U.S. Air Force intentionally provided false information that led to a recommendation to close George Air Force Base in California and a proposed expansion of the Saylor Creek Bombing Range in Idaho. …
See: Ex-officers: Air Force lied about range – May 7, 1990