Groups work to show value of military bases in midstate

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | May 11, 2016 12:08 PM
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(Lebanon) -- The Defense Department has asked Congress to consider closing a number of military bases across the country, and two groups are trying to protect facilities in the midstate.

The Cumberland and York Area Local Defense Group formed first.

It's making the case the Carlisle Barracks, the Naval Support Activity in Mechanicsburg and the Defense Distribution Center Susquehanna in New Cumberland are all critical to the country's military.

Then there's the Lebanon County Local Defense Group, which is focused specifically on Fort Indiantown Gap.

"Fort Indiantown Gap is very different in its capacity as an airfield and a training for many of those helicopter pilots that go overseas and defend this nation all over the world," says Jamie Wolgemuth, chief clerk for the Lebanon County Commissioners.

Wolgemuth says his group will have a report by the summer, showing the precise impact Fort Indiantown Gap has on the community.

Wolgemuth says the economic impact alone would be devestating.

"The Gap is a consumer of a lot of products that are made locally, a lot of people are employed there, and that's important to the area," he adds.

The Cumberland and York group has a meeting scheduled for next month.

Nationwide base closures are not imminent, but the Defense Department says it believes it could shed a quarter of its facilities and still meet demand.

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