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CAFB included in military construction, veterans care bill

 

Dispatch Staff Report

 

Columbus Air Force Base is one of four state military installations soon to get funding support if the full Senate approves pending legislation, U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran''s office announced Tuesday. 

 


The base stands to see $10 million for an aircraft maintenance administration facility to provide adequate workspace for Air Force aircraft maintenance and government quality assurance personnel. 

 


CAFB officials are elated at the news of the bill making it out of committee. "We are appreciative of the military construction dollars to continue to modernize the support infrastructure on Columbus AFB to make Columbus a world-class ''Showplace of the South,''" said Sonic Johnson, chief of public affairs for the 14th Flying Training Wing. 

 


Funding to support four defense projects in Mississippi has been approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee as part of the FY2010 Military Construction and Veterans'' Affairs Appropriations Bill, according to Cochran (R-Miss.).  

 


"This measure will support projects that will buttress training facilities for our men and women in uniform, including those who serve in the Guard and Reserves. It also provides funds to support the medical, educational and other benefit commitments we''ve made to our veterans," said Cochran, the ranking Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee. 

 


"I am pleased the Appropriations Committee has advanced this legislation, and I look forward to its consideration by the full Senate," he said. 

 


With today''s committee action, the legislation may now be considered by the full Senate. Also in line for construction project funding in Mississippi, totaling $50.2 million, are Monticello National Guard Readiness Center -- $14.3 million to construct a new facility to provide adequate space to support Army National Guard readiness and training; Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center -- $16.1 million to support a Combined Arms Collective Training Facility at this Mississippi Army National Guard installation; and Keesler Air Force Base -- $9.8 million for an Air Force Reserve Aerial Port Squadron facility. 

 


In addition to military construction projects, the measure funds Department of Veterans Affairs programs, including medical care, compensation, pension and education benefits. The Senate bill, for instance, provides $440 million for a VA Rural Health Initiative, and an additional $50 million for a new Rural Clinic Initiative to establish additional community-based outpatient clinics in rural areas.

 

 

 

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