Valdosta Daily Times

August 24, 2013

Wing commander, congressman discuss base’s role

Stuart Taylor
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — Moody Air Force Base’s 23rd Wing Cmdr. Col. Chad Franks and Rep. Jack Kingston spoke Friday about the base’s mission, its place in the local community and the international importance of the military during a luncheon hosted by the South Georgia Military Affairs Council.

“It’s an honor to represent the 6,000 men and women of Team Moody,” said Franks. “I truly mean it when I say that our surrounding cities provide the best community support for the Air Force, support that is unrivaled.”

While MAFB has a local impact, it also has an international impact. Since 2012, Moody’s Rescue Warriors have clocked more than 11,000 hours, saving 1,330 lives and assisting in 1,973 saves.

“They come to the aid of sailors, soldiers, airmen, marines and our coalition partners,” Franks said. “They do this when those people are having their worst days so that they may have the opportunity to go home to family and friends again.”

Franks praised the citizens of Lowndes County for their support of Moody, its airmen and their families.

“The airmen of Moody are part of your community. Their families attend your schools, they eat at your restaurants, and are members of your churches. I hope you feel as much ownership and pride for them as I do.”

Kingston praised the Valdosta community for efforts to protect Moody from BRAC — Base Relocation and Closure, but also addressed the recent military budget cuts and sequestration, describing it as “a haircut that was applied unevenly.”

“The fair way to do it is across the board ... which is not to say that the military should be exempt from cuts. Certainly the military, as with everything else, if we can do it more efficiently, more effectively, we have to do that.”

Kingston argued for a middle ground, questioning whether a BRAC would be worse than “death by a thousand cuts.”

“We have troops in 175 different countries. ...We need to make sure they have the best equipment, the best training that’s out there. ... I often say I don’t want to kill a fly with a sledgehammer, I want to kill a fly with about 10 sledgehammers because you want those young men and women to come back safely.”

Kingston, who is running for the Senate in 2014, also talked about the prevalence of modern technology being used in surveillance.

“It’s not just the government using it, it’s commercial purposes using it. We need to have that debate about where that line is.”