Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Secretary of Navy at Kings Bay Trident Commissioning Expected to Draw 4,000

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Secretary of Navy at Kings Bay Trident Commissioning Expected to Draw 4,000

Article excerpt

Navy Secretary John Dalton will be among those on hand

tomorrow at Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base, Ga., to witness the

commissioning of the service's last nuclear-missile submarine.

In front of an invited crowd of 4,000, the Navy will breathe

life into Kings Bay's 10th and final Trident missile submarine,

the USS Louisiana. The commissioning is at noon.

The ship's sponsor, Patricia Carlin "Patsy" O'Keefe, a

Louisiana native and mother of former Navy Secretary Sean

O'Keefe, will give the traditional order to "man our ship and

bring her to life."

The crew will then rush aboard and the ship's systems will

spring to life. Missile hatches will open and close, the

periscope and radio masts will raise and lower, the ship's

rudder will move and it's whistle will sound.

Dalton, another Louisiana native and a former submariner,

will be the ceremony's main speaker.

The Trident submarine program began in the 1970s and now

consists of 18 ships. The others are homeported in Bangor, Wash.

The missiles these stealth warriors carry soon will constitute

half the country's nuclear weapons.

Other heavy hitters expected to attend the commissioning

include Gen. Eugene Habiger, commander of the U.S. Strategic

Command; Adm. Paul Reason, commander-in-chief of the U.S.

Atlantic Fleet; and state Rep. H.B. Downer, speaker of the

Louisiana House of Representatives.

Not everyone, however, likes the idea of another

nuclear-missile shooter under the seas. John Linnehan,

co-founder of the Metanoia Peace Community, said 20 to 40 peace

activists are planning to protest outside the main gate before

the ceremony.

Linnehan says that the ballistic-missile submarine force --

targeted to draw down to 14 ships after the turn of the century

-- easily could be cut in half to nine subs without hurting

national security.

The savings could then be shifted to human and social

services such as health and education, he said.

BIG CONTRACT BOOSTS GEORGIA BASE: The Air Force awarded a

$434 million maintenance contract to Robins Air Force Base

yesterday, boosting the middle Georgia installation's standing

in any future round of military base closings.

U.S. Rep. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., whose district includes

the base near Warner Robins, said the seven-year maintenance

contract for the giant C-5 Galaxy cargo plane will mean at least

300 to 400 new jobs at Robins.

"We have been trying to position Robins in anticipation of

another round" of base closings, said Chambliss. "This takes a

giant step in the right direction as far as positioning Robins

as the U.S. Air Force's airlift depot."

Maintenance of the C-5 fleet has been conducted at Kelly Air

Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. That installation and

McClellan Air Force Base in California both were ordered closed

by the 1995 Base Closure and Realignment Commission.

President Clinton, however, proposed to keep the two

vote-rich states from losing jobs by turning over the work at

each base to private contractors in the two states.

After lawmakers from states with Air Force depots objected,

the administration agreed to put the work up for bids, allowing

both private contractors and public depots to compete. …

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