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Thiele: Final 2012 State Budget Includes $5 Million For Military Base Retention Efforts

Originally Posted: April 02, 2012

Sag Harbor - In an effort to help preserve the 106th Air National Guard Rescue Wing at Gabreski Airport in Westhampton from future Base Realignment and Closures (BRACs) and defense cuts, the Final 2012 State Budget includes $5 million to help retain military facilities in the State of New York. By including this critical funding in the State Budget, New York State is taking the first
step in another long battle to safeguard the 106th Rescue Wing.

The mission of the 106th Rescue Wing is Combat Search And Rescue (CSAR). During peacetime, the unit also provides search and rescue services to the maritime community and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The 106th is also afforded the honor of being the oldest unit in the Air National Guard.

After a long an arduous battle, in 2005, the 106 Rescue Wing was secured from the last Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process. However, a new round of BRAC is likely in the near future.

Thiele stated, "In 2005, the Department of Defense recognized the military value of the 106th Rescue Wing at Gabreski, the strength of the local community and the important roles they play in the defense of our nation. I have been honored to work with the 106th Rescue Wing for nearly 25 years. The skill and bravery of these men and women is unmistakable. They have saved lives both overseas and off the East Coast. They are a true asset to Long Island, to New York and to the entire country. Among the many community service functions provided by the 106th, are airport fire protection and support for Coast Guard search and rescue operations."

Thiele added, "It takes years to train men and women for the search and rescue missions performed by the 106th. It would be a mistake to consider closing this installation and losing that expertise in any future BRAC process. Gabreski also has an important economic impact on the East End of Long Island. The $5 million in the State Budget will be critical in again delivering this message to Washington." "I have always said that if based on the merits, we would have a very strong case to make for the 106th Rescue Wing at Gabreski, and all of New York's installations, because of their economic impact, their strategic advantage and the overwhelming community
support that they enjoy. When I visited Gabreski in August of 2004 and met with the community forum, we talked about the importance of a team effort to ensure the base remained safe during this BRAC round. I'm thrilled that our team effort and hard work have paid off and know that we will persevere until the commission delivers its recommendation to the President in September."

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