A-Team Readies for Hearing

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The Meridian Military Team, dubbed "The A-Team," goes to New Orleans next week to defend the 186th Air Refueling Wing to the Base Realignment and Closure commission.

The man charged with convincing the commission that Meridian's Air National Guard Base should not be realigned is Langford Knight, retired from the Air Guard and a Meridian native. He will present the team's case for keeping the base's mission. Knight says there has been a lot of midnight oil burned while preparing for it.

"The Meridian Military Team, they don't like to lose. It's been challenging, but they've really come together and done a lot of work," said Knight.

Members say they believe they have an argument that will convince BRAC commissioners that the 186th is vital to the country's security. The argument is an economic and strategic one. In fact, not too many details were given away in this presentation to the media, but they say the military will actually end up losing money instead of saving it if the base closes.

It's an argument they say other bases aren't making so far.

"These people get emotional and they talk about patriotism, and certainly we're patriotic, but they want to hear facts," said team member Lamar McDonald.

Knight says the facts to be presented are firmly in the base's favor.

"I think they're looking for something that's simple, that they can grasp, that make sense, and I think we'll give them that," Knight said.

The Meridian Military Team will get a chance to make its case next Friday morning in New Orleans, but will only have fifteen minutes to do it.

If you'd like more information on the upcoming BRAC Commission hearing in New Orleans, you may go to www.wtok.com and click on the BRAC link.