In Massachusetts, the town of Ayer would lose roughly 10,000 military and civilian jobs if Fort Devens closed; Oscoda, Mich., would lose 3,600 jobs if Wurtsmith Air Force Base shut down; and in Baton Rouge, La., 1,100 people would be out of work if England Air Force Base ceased operations.
For those communities that depend on the military dollar for survival, Friday's Pentagon announcement of proposed base closings hit like a 2,000-pound bomb with elected officials from Town Hall to Congress forecasting economic doom and launching rhetorical strikes to save their installations."It's economic war. We intend to fight this one," said Rep. Chester Atkins, D-Mass., of Defense Department plans to close Fort Devens and 30 other major bases as part of a plan to reduce the military by 25 percent over five years.
"It's going going to create havoc. . . . The town is in shock," said Timothy Higgins, Ayer town administrator, who said the loss of $450 million annually to the area would devastate a region already suffering from economic stagnation and double-digit unemployment.
"We'll try to put obstacles every step of the way," said Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer, whose state not only stands to lose England Air Force Base but also some operations at Fort Polk at a cost of roughly 2,000 more jobs.
England, an A-10 tank killer base used as a deployment center during the Persian Gulf war, pumps $80 million annually into the economy, Roemer said.
Under a recommended realignment of Fort Polk, the 5th Infantry Division, with about 12,000 to 15,000 troops, would move to Fort Hood, Texas, and be replaced by troops from bases closed in Arkansas and Washington.
Wurtsmith Air Force Base is the largest employer in northeast Michigan and its 379th Bomb Wing dropped 20 percent of the allied bombs on Iraq in the gulf war, said Rep. Bob Davis, R-Mich.
"This is no done deal," Davis said. "We're just in the second half of a tight ball game."
Here is a list of military bases and installations recommended for closing:
Fort Benjamin Harrison, Ind.
Fort Chaffee, Ark.
Fort Devens, Mass.
Fort Dix, N.J.
Fort McClellan, Ala.
Fort Ord, Calif.
Sacramento Army Depot, Calif.
Harry Diamond Lab Woodbridge Research Facility, Va.
Chase Field Naval Air Station, Texas
Hunters Point Annex, Calif.
Long Beach Naval Station, Calif.
Orlando Naval Training Center, Fla.
Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, Pa.
Philadelphia Naval Station, Pa.
Sand Point (Puget Sound) Naval Station, Wash.
Tustin Marine Corps Air Station, Calif.
Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, Wash.
Davisville Construction Battalion Center, R.I.
Naval Space Systems Activity, Los Angeles
Integrated Combat Systems Test Facility, San Diego
Naval Electronic Systems Engineering Centers in San Diego and Vallejo, Calif.; St. Inigoes, Md., and Charleston, S.C.
Naval Electronic Systems Engineering Center, Washington, D.C.
Naval Ocean Systems Center Detachment, Kaneoche, Hawaii
Naval Weapons Evaluation Facility, Albuquerque, N.M.
Naval Mine Warfare Engineering Activity, Yorktown, Va.
Bergstrom Air Force Base, Texas
Carswell Air Force Base, Texas
Castle Air Force Base, Calif.
Eaker Air Force Base, Ark.
England Air Force Base, La.
Grissom Air Force Base, Ind.
Loring Air Force Base, Maine
Lowry Air Force Base, Colo.
Moody Air Force Base, Ga.
Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, S.C.
Richards-Gebaur Air Refueling Squadron, Mo.
Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base, Ohio
Williams Air Force Base, Ariz.
Wurtsmith Air Force Base, Mich.
Winners and losers
More than 71,000 military and civilian jobs would be lost as a result of Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney's recommendation to close 31 major bases and 12 minor bases and to reduce or realign 28 others.
Here is the list of losing and winning states and number of government jobs affected:
California 26,869 Illinois 14,109
Florida 18,850 Missouri 4,749
Pennsylvania 12,943 Texas 4,103
Indiana 8,024 Virginia 2,290
Arkansas 6,777 Washington 2,013
Louisiana 5,563 New Mexico 1,755
Colorado 5,245 Hawaii 1,257
Alabama 4,883 New York 1,116
Georgia 3,811 Rhode Island 873
Massachusetts 3,776 Mississippi 818
Maine 3,741 Kentucky 813
Michigan 1,455 North Carolina 703
New Jersey 1,258 South Carolina 336
Idaho* 1,200 Nebraska 240
Connecticut 911 Montana 181
Maryland 781 Tennessee 87
Midway Island 230
District of Columbia 98
*Because of change in mission for Mountain Home Air Force Base.
Source: The Defense Department