Contingency Plan in Works for NAS

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The likelihood of NAS Meridian and the 186th Air Refueling Wing ending up on the BRAC, Base Realignment and Closure List, in the coming months is still a threat.

Just in case that happens, the community wants to be prepared, and in doing so local officials took part in a meeting that would start the process of developing a blueprint for the community though an advance planning federal grant from the Office of Economic Adjustment, or OEA.

"This would be our plan," said Gaines Crawford, chairman of the committee. "Hopefully NAS and the 186th are left off the list. This is just another approach where we can use government funds to have surveys and look at how we can use federal funds."

Lamar McDonald, chairman of the Meridian Military Team and the Miss Military Council, says this time around will be an extremely difficult BRAC process.

"The Department of Defense is determined to close or realign 25 percent of their infrastructure in this country, which totals more than what was affected in 1991, 1993, 1995," McDonald said.

Retired Cong. G.V. Sonny Montgomery has played an integral role in keeping the base afloat in the past, but he says it will take the community to keep it open.

"We just cannot lose this base," said retired Cong. Sonny Montgomery, "and to save it we will have to do what we have done in the past."