Military Notebook: House subcommittee rejects BRAC

May 26, 2013 

A proposal for a new round of base closings in 2015 isn’t faring well in Congress.

On Thursday, the Readiness Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee voted against having a Base Realignment and Closure Commission, according to the Associated Press.

It doesn’t mean BRAC is dead, but retired Maj. Gen. Robert McMahon, president of the 21st Century Partnership, called it a good first step. The proposal is part of the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act, and there are numerous steps before it becomes law, he said.

Rep. Robert Wittman, R-Va., the subcommittee’s chairman, said studies on the right size of military have yet to be completed, and the initial cost of a new base closure round is too high. The proposed budget seeks $2.4 billion over five years to cover the up-front expense of base closings.

“It’s premature to expend dollars we don’t have to fix a problem we’re not sure exists,” Wittman said. “Strategy, not budgets, should drive national security decisions, and I won’t support a reduction in our infrastructure until I’m confident our nation’s readiness, and our military, won’t suffer.”

Macon soldier awarded Bronze Star with valor

A Macon native earned the Bronze Star with valor for risking his life to help a wounded soldier in Afghanistan.

Army Sgt. Christopher Alston was leading route-clearing missions when his unit was attacked by insurgents, according to a release.

A fellow soldier was wounded on the opposite side of the highway about 300 meters away, and when Alston tried to get to him, he came under heavy fire.

He also was blocked by a 10-foot mud wall.

“I tried to scale the wall to get over it,” Alston said in the release. “Every time I would get above the wall the enemy would shoot at me, which kept me pinned behind the wall.”

He told team members to throw smoke grenades to obscure visibility, then he and a medic scaled the wall and reached the soldier. He directed U.S. and Polish forces to provide security and transport to get the soldier to safety.

“It is all muscle memory,” said Alston. “When you hear that one of your soldiers has been hit, it is your job to get them home.”

Electronics squadron recertified

The 569th Electronics Maintenance Squadron’s Precision Measurement Equipment Laboratory at Robins Air Force Base has been recertified by the Air Force Metrology and Calibration Program Evaluation Team.

The certification confirms the lab’s ability to accurately measure a wide range of equipment, according to a release. The squadron calibrates a wide variety of equipment such as torque wrenches and gauges on aircraft jack stands.

“We had to pass six critical areas, each pertaining to a particular function,” Carol Pagura, squadron director, said in the release.

To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.

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