Posted: May 13, 2005 5:19 pm EST

Tinker AFB spared (~9 col. in.)
by Joshua Pace and Victoria Middleton/Midwest City (Okla.) Sun
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    By Joshua Pace and Victoria Middleton
    CNHI News Service

    MIDWEST CITY, Okla. - Friday the 13th started out with thunderstorms, but by mid-morning the sun was shining on Oklahoma.
    That's how U.S. Rep. Ernest Istook said he will remember the day Tinker Air Force Base survived the Base Realignment and Closure list announced Friday morning.
    During a press conference held just outside of Tinker Air Force Base, Istook joined U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., and Lt. Gov. Mary Fallin, as well as city, county and state officials.
    Cole pointed out that not on was Tinker not on the list for recommended closure, but the base is set to add 355 employees.
    Across Oklahoma, the state's remaining facilities survived as well, signifying the support of the communities surrounding them, Cole said.
    "Oklahoma is one of the few states in the country that has never lost a major facility in a BRAC round," Cole said, "and perhaps the only state that has made net gain in each of the five BRAC rounds."
    Officials at the Pentagon Friday proposed closing more than 150 large and small military installations across the country but the good news for Oklahomans is that none of them will be in this state.
    U.S. Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., said Friday that not only will state bases remain open, in many cases they will actually grow.
    Inhofe said Tinker Air Force Base will see a gain in civilian employees, as well as experience growth in other services provided by the base.
    According to the 2005 BRAC report, Fort Sill is expected to receive a very significant net gain of 3,444 military personnel and 161 civilian personnel. Tulsa International Airport Air Guard Station is expected to gain 103 military and civilian personnel while Vance Air Force Base at Enid will receive an additional 99 military and civilian personnel.
    "We're the biggest winner as we have been in the past," Inholfe said. "No other state has the community support (toward their military bases) that Oklahoma has. Don't ask me why, they're just good people, I guess."

    Joshua Pace and Victoria Middleton write for the Midwest City (Okla.) Sun.

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