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Friday, July 29, 2005

Former Admirals criticize base closing

The people of Groton received help from eight former admirals when they send a letter to the chairman of BRAC expressing their concern over the proposed closing of the sub base.

From the Stamford Advocate

In a letter sent Thursday to the chairman of the federal commission reviewing the base closing plans, the retired admirals said the submarine base is a valuable asset that the military cannot afford to lose, The Day of New London reported.

"Closing (the sub base) would critically injure the capabilities and readiness of the United States' submarine force, the Navy and the armed forces at large," the retired admirals wrote in the letter to Anthony Principi, chairman of the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission.

The admirals were once some of the most powerful military officials in Washington. Among those who signed the letter were Adm. James D. Watkins, chief of naval operations under President Reagan; Adm. Carlisle A.H. Trost, chief of naval operations under President George H.W. Bush, and Adm. Frank B. Kelso II, who served as President Clinton's chief of naval operations.

The letter writers also included Vice Adms. Kenneth M. Carr, former Atlantic fleet sub commander; George R. Sterner, former Naval Sea Systems commander; Al Konetzni, former Pacific fleet sub commander; and N. Ronald Thunman, a former deputy chief of naval operations.

Principi has also received letters recently from other military experts and politicians opposed to closing the base in Groton - the first submarine base in the country and home to the nation's premier submarine school.

Gov. M. Jodi Rell and other leading politicians said the admirals' letter should be influential in efforts to keep the base open.