To the Editor:
After reading Rear Admiral David Anderson's remarks in the Oct. 25 edition of the Washington Daily News I could not let them slip by without comment. (Rear Admiral Anderson is speaking for the Navy regarding its desire to put an outlying landing field — or OLF — in North Carolina or Virginia.)
In Thursday's paper Anderson is quoted as saying the Navy's need for an additional OLF "is not an encroachment issue." He goes on to say: "If there was not a house within 50 miles of Oceana (Naval Air Station)... if there were not a house within 50 miles of Fentress (current OLF), I would still have the need for an additional OLF."
What a crock! As someone who has been involved fighting the Navy on this issue for the last five years, I know better, and everyone reading this letter to the editor right now should, too.
This whole thing (Navy's desire to locate an OLF away from Tidewater, Virginia) started with an Oct. 30, 2000 letter from Admiral Robert J. Natter. As you will read below, Admiral Natter's concern has nothing to do with military preparedness and everything to do with what Rear Admiral Anderson is currently denying. From the letter:
"The Navy and the Hampton Roads community have enjoyed a superb and mutually beneficial relationship for years, and it is in our collective interests to ensure we continue working together to address these important concerns. It is precisely because of community concerns over jet noise that we are carefully exploring the establishment of an additional outlying landing field to accommodate (F/A-18 E/F) Super Hornet training — should these aircraft come to our community — and reduce aircraft operations at our airfields at Oceana and Fentress."
I hope when Gov. Mike Easley's OLF Study Group meets again in just a few days that Rear Admiral Anderson will be reminded of what Admiral Natter said five years ago. It would be interesting to hear his response. I also hope our representatives strongly urge the Navy to accept past Naval Secretary and Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner's recommendation to the Navy that it locate the OLF at Fort Pickett, Virginia.