New Mexico suffers the worst blow and Georgia fares best in a new round of cutbacks and other changes at Air Force bases announced Friday.
In moves unrelated to the highly controversial base closures and realignments approved by President Clinton last month, the Air Force said it was making adjustments - mostly cutbacks - at bases in 43 states and Puerto Rico.The changes are part of the Air Force's continuing effort to shrink its fighter strength to the equivalent of 13 active-duty and seven reserve wings. As recently as 1988, the Air Force had 38 fighter wings.
The effects will be felt most severely in New Mexico. The Air Force said it was shutting down Cannon Air Force Base's 428th Fighter Squadron, which conducts training for F-111 fighter-bombers. Those planes are being retired from the force. F-16 fighters will be stationed at Cannon instead, but the loss of the F-111 training mission will mean the loss of 974 military and 26 civilian jobs.
Also, at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., a series of changes for the 58th Special Operations Wing and other units there will result in a net loss of 25 active-duty military and 127 National Guard jobs. There will be a net gain of 166 civilian jobs.
The announced cutbacks and changes in most other states will have relatively little effect on jobs. Among the exceptions are Oklahoma, which will lose 145 military jobs at Altus Air Force Base and 209 more at Tinker Air Force Base.
Also, Washington state will lose 145 military jobs at Fairchild Air Force Base as the result of the removal of six KC-135R tanker aircraft from the 92nd Air Refueling Wing. And at McChord Air Force Base, 81 military jobs will be lost.
Cutbacks at several bases in California will result in net losses of 163 active-duty military jobs, 436 National Guard or Air Force Reserve slots and 86 civilian jobs.
By contrast, Georgia, the home state of Sen. Sam Nunn, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Service Committee, will enjoy major gains due to the establishment of a new wing of E-8C JSTARS surveillance planes at Robins Air Force Base.
The Air Force also said it had canceled a decision to move three E-3B AWACS radar control planes to Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho.