Jack Betts Misses The Point

After years of writing some of the best coverage in the state on the Navy's Outlying Landing Field, Jack Betts at the Charlotte Observer takes a wrong turn this morning in his Sunday column.

RALEIGH -- If the Navy really wants an outlying landing field, it ought to call North Carolina's hand -- right now. For a long time the state and many of its environmental groups have been saying they don't want the OLF near the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, but they'd support an alternative site.

While it's true that many have been saying they'd support an alternative site, there are also many who have been saying NO SITE is appropriate. Parmea, for example, has made an excellent case that the Navy's own regulations preclude moving forward on an outlying landing field. After reading all of his well-researched posts, I am convinced he is right.

In a lot of ways, the fight over the Navy's preferred site is, well, over, even as it holds a final public hearing in Charlotte on Tuesday.

But the need for an OLF remains. And if the Navy wants to make it happen faster than its flawed proposal that's still tied up in federal court and red tape and tedious environmental research and requirements for public hearings and comment, it would put the state of North Carolina to work.

The need for an OLF remains? Says who? The mayor of Virginia Beach? A couple of admirals whose careers are on the rocks? Betts is wrong. The need for an OLF has not been established. It is simply a WANT - not a need - on the part of Virginia politicians (including Liddy Dole) to make up for mis-managing development around facilities in southeastern Virginia.

Once you accept the reality that the entire OLF is a matter of expediency, born of a sweetheart deal between Senators Liddy Dole and John Warner, the rest of Betts' column is mostly moot.

For a long time, conservationists and environmentalists and farmers have been saying they want the OLF in North Carolina -- just not up there near the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge where tens of thousands of tundra swans and snow geese roost and fly out every day in the winter looking for food. The implication -- in fact, their outright assertion -- is that they want it at a more appropriate N.C. site. That has been Gov. Easley's position.

Which now obligates the state to help the Navy find the right site and to assist the Navy in getting all the boxes checked and all the permits delivered for an alternate site -- if the Navy is wise enough to take the state up on its offer.

The truth is, NO ONE REALLY WANTS AN OLF IN NORTH CAROLINA. The OLF was a Liddy Dole Deal A full-functioning base for the aircraft with the enormous economic impact? That would be a different story. That would be a welcome opportunity for North Carolina to get some benefit from selling land to the US Navy. But an outlying landing field? That's nothing more than a very loud and dangerous dump placed in our state, with virtually no economic benefit.

The truth is GOVERNOR EASLEY DOESN'T EVEN SEEM TO UNDERSTAND THE ISSUE either. He came late to the party after armies of NO OLFers finally wore him down. Same with Burr, Jones, Hayes and all the other foot-draggers in the Party of Greed. They've accepted the Navy's assertion on face-value that an OLF is needed. After all the lies from the Navy around Site C, you'd have to be a fool to accept anything the Navy says at face value.


That just doesn't even sound like Betts

Not if you read any of his previous columns on the issue. How odd.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

I know.

I think a lot of people early on were saying okay to an OLF, just as long as it wasn't Site C. And admittedly, Site C is the most egregious Navy ploy imaginable.

But as the sad saga unfolded, it got clear that the entire case for an OLF is a house of cards - simply for the convenience of Virginia Beach and a bunch of arrogant Navy pilots.

extremely true

this is strickly for the convenience of Virginia that we are getting this, and yet, the true noise mitigation based on what they are saying is just not going to happen.

Only if Fentress is closed will they receive any measurable benifit. If that is the case, the Navy is lying in this NEPA process as they insist that Fentress as well as this second OLF would benifit the Navy for the military mission of training pilots for carrier operations. Fentress must stay open for as long as Oceana and this second OLF is operational. And that is not going to happen.

I have been avoiding this, but

did all you know that Cherry Point does in deed have an OLF already supporting it? While the folks of Emerald Isle will not be happy with this, MCALF Bogue Field is an OLF and has been used by F/A-18 CD from as far away as MCAS Beaufort as well as some planes from Oceana (ATAC report). Bogue Field has the capability to support carrier based FCLP operations, but due to noise conciderations, the Navy avoids utilizing this field. Just another under-utilized field by the Navy.

So does Cherry Point need a third OLF for training purposes? OOOOO you did not know about OLF Atlantic that is utilized to train AV-8 pilots and helo pilots in vertical take off/landings? This OLF is in the same airspace that Opens Ground Farms is under and yet, this OLF is operational. Seems like the Navy forgot to see that OLF when it stated the inability to deconflict aircraft flying in the restricted air while planes are doing bombing missions. Atlantic CANNOT support FCLP operations due to the size of the runway, but I dont see why that runway cannot be expanded.

Cherry Point can perform the military mission of training F/A-18 EF pilots as well as the other requirments according to the FEIS and supporting documentation.

With this in mind, the desire to place this OLF between Oceana and Cherry Point is moot. This OLF can go anywhere within 100 or so miles of Oceana, and preferably in the State of Virginia where the monitary benifits of the master jet base are being realized. If the Navy wishes to appease Hampton Roads by building another OLF to reduce noise and improve operational flexibility, I highly encourage them to place this OLF anywhere in Virginia.

It is not needed in North Carolina especially for the reasons being stated to date.

Senator Warner offered up Fort Pickett and Northwest as viable sites for an OLF within Virginia when 2005 BRAC was debating on the viability of Oceana. I bet he wont be offering up those sites now that he thinks the 2005 BRAC findings is dead.

Excellent letter Anglico.

Thank You, Parmea

Beyond the obvious - your little details make the picture.

No, the Navy does not need another OLF. NC does not need another OLF; several already exist.

The Navy wants an OLF so they don't have to do the right thing in Virginia after decades of allowing Virginia itself to do the wrong thing.

That's what this boils down to - beyond the obvious that flying expensive planes in the middle of large flocks of large birds is not a smart thing to do.

Not sure where Mr. Betts got

this quote from?

For a long time, conservationists and environmentalists and farmers have been saying they want the OLF in North Carolina -- just not up there near the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge where tens of thousands of tundra swans and snow geese roost and fly out every day in the winter looking for food. The implication -- in fact, their outright assertion -- is that they want it at a more appropriate N.C. site. That has been Gov. Easley's position.

I dont know of any farmers they want an OLF. I cant imagine this scenario at the local seed store or anywhere farmers hang out.

"humm, you know Bob, I sure do want an OLF near here, I am having a tough time figuring out what crops I should plant this year, and dang if the Navy doesn't have all them wonderful smart folks that can tell me what and how I should plant and harvest. Dang Bill, your so right, this farming stuff is just to much for us. I know we have $300,000 tractors and other farm implements, but geeze, we just cant figure this out. I too will be glad when the Navy is telling us how to farm...."

gooolllllyyyyy geeeeeee gommer that aint happening anywhere in North Carolina.

Military-Owned Land

If the Navy “wants” another OLF, the Navy needs to use military-owned land. The military owns a vast amount of land in North Carolina and Virginia. Some of this land has unused or underused airfields. The Navy does not need to take private land. The Navy needs to use what the military already has.


Can anyone guess why the military makes no effort to use land they already own?


They want more?

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

poor management practices

and an inability to develope a harmonious relationship with the local governments that truely brings them on-board with the needs of the Navy as well as the needs of the local community.

The Navy still has not figured that out. They have not established any kind of repore with the local governments of NE NC. Hell, they wont even talk with us, nor respect our local government figures.

At the Perquimans County public hearing the first speaker was our Chairman of the County Commissioners. His title was acknowledged by the Navy. At the end of his 3 minutes, he was asking of the Navy where to place 60 odd letters from various people of the community, and the only thing the Navy would do to help my official (that represents 12,000+ people) was to tell him repeatedly that his 3 minutes are up. After asking the Navy a bunch of times, the JAG Captian finally told him that he can drop his comments off in the box found in the other room just like everyone else in the auditorium this day. Would the Navy representitives assist my County Commissioner? NOPE. Whould Commander Carrtoi (ca-twaa) get off his butt and accept the documents from my County Commissioner? NOPE. Whould anyone help him from the Navy? NOPE. At that time, the Perquimans County High School auditorium belonged to the Navy. At that time, the honors and cortises required of the Navy and by these Officers should have been affored to my Commissioner and my Commissioner should have been treated as an Equal and not like anyone off the street. That is the contempt the Navy has toward anyone in NE North Carolina.

As a retired Chief Petty Officer, I was appalled by what the Officers of the Navy did that night. As I told the Navy that night, this is not the Navy I served in for 22.5 years.

Is the Navy fostering a harmonious relationship with the Local Governments of North Carolina? NOPE. Will the Navy get any better toward the people of North Carolina in the future? HELL NO THEY WONT.

From the Center for Naval Analyses

"Alternatives to Vieques"

"We have come to believe that while it is theorectically possible to develop a new range in the eastern United States, it is unlikely that such and effort would be successful in any reasonable amount of time. The likelihood of success will depend on the merits of each specific proposal,but it is likely that any range proposed regardless of its merits will draw extensive highly motivated and highly capable opposition".

The fact that the Navy wants 30,000 acres for a landing field is just a foot print to the big picture. The Navy is fully prepared to get North Carolina as its new training range, and they know it is just a matter of time.

So in essence,

they want it all.

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

Was It You?

Was it you, Susan, that provided the link to all those abandoned military sites in this state and others?

I am sure there are many elected officials who do not realize how many military sites have already been abandoned in this state.

Buy, Build, Abandon - must stop.

There is no more land being made on planet Earth. What state will be willing to give itself up in its entirety to the military industrial complex?

"Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without; Reduce, Re-use, Recycle"

Not only does the Navy want...

our land, but the air and sea.
Check out a NC aeronautical map. The military already has control over most of the air space on the east coast.

Somewhere on Bluenc is a link to all the land the military already owns.

Camp Davis near Wilmington is a prime example of masses of land, approx. fifty to seventy thousand acres with two under utilized airfields.

Also, 500 sq. miles of NC's beaches is no small chunk of change for a sonar range.

Why doesn't anyone question these military excesses? They are given a free reign by Congress because of the big money that comes with military contracts, housing, etc.

The government uses the guise of peace and national security to justify these warring enterprises.

President Eisenhower warned the people of the nation to be wary of these self serving entities (wolves in sheeps clothing) over forty years ago.

Yes, That Was It

Time for a little email forwarding don't you think?

Make sure the Governor and the Senators & Representatives, and the press know about that website ... hmmm....?

So they will have some educated suggestions to provide when the Navy says they really, really, really need to be in NC.

Some of those sites have been sold outright - but there's no reason that the Navy can't offer to buy them back.

I would hope they would read it.....

I sent Jack Betts the copy of the other report I had last week & we see what type of editorial we got. :(

He seemed very interested in it when I sent it to him...??

Should we write letters & include the copy of the list?? How should we go about this. Guide me!


well -

Dear (fillintheblank)

I applaud your willingness to work with the Navy in their efforts to acquire land for an OLF.

Have you heard of (xxx), (yyy), or (zzz)?

(xxx) is an ---, located in ---. It was (decomissioned/sold as surplus/abandoned) in 19xx.

It does retain suitable features for an OLF in that it ----. It is currently listed as having (one private owner, owned by the military, other govt. agency, etc.)

Please feel free to contact me if you're interested in other information I can provide.

(Make sure you have at least one more sparkly bit to provide. :) )

That's totally generic. I'd fill in with as many details as I could find and include as many links as I could find.

There is one term in writing called a 'hook'; what a hook does (a good one) is make the reader want to keep reading. It provides enough detail to engage curiousity but not so many that the reader thinks that is all there is to know.

You want your reader to be armed with enough information to go investigating for himself and curious enough so that he does so.

Does that help?

Heck Yeah it does!!!

I just didn't know if I came off to Jack wrong, or if I didn't say the right thing?

I didn't want to spread more information and it not be taken & read.....Sometimes I just feel like I give & give & give...show reason upon reason upon reason & no one *gets it*.

Thank you, Unique!!

Some Act - Some Reply

Some do both - some do neither.

It's hard to tell sometimes. All you can do is keep on doing.

Try to develop a working relationship with those who reply if the situation warrants it. Keep providing information - somebody somewhere will act on it.