12 years ago the Submarine Base was on the Base Realignment and Closure or BRAC list and the state had to fight to get off it.
Back in 2005, ‘Save our SUBASE’ signs and T-shirts were seen at Norm’s Diner and throughout southeastern Connecticut as the BRAC threat loomed.
“It was a very scary time because we didn’t know for sure if the politicians could save the base,” said Navy veteran Gaylen Hunter of Mystic.
He had lunch today at Norm’s which now has new owners and a new paint job but the resolve of those wanting to protect this military base remains the same as when Senators Chris Dodd and Joe Liebermen were in office.
Now Richard Blumenthal is the state’s senior senator and he told reporters, “It was considered a political miracle to remove it from the list.”
At the Nautilus Overlook Park – Senator Richard Blumenthal and local leaders from Groton and New London announced their opposition to plans to include a BRAC proceeding as an amendment to the Comprehensive Defense Authorization Bill currently before Congress.
Senator Blumenthal says U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Jack Reed (D-RI) are pushing the measure.
“Our fear is that the national security part will be given a back seat to deal making and political horse trading,” said Sen. Blumenthal.
“This base is such an integral part of our economy here in Connecticut contributing over six billion dollars to our economy,” said State Senator Heather Somers, (R) of Groton. She will head a new senate BRAC task force at the statehouse. 12 years ago she was a Groton town councilor fighting for the base.
“I hope the community can rally and support the SUBASE once again and hopefully we’ll keep it,” said Hunter.
Senator Blumental is encouraging residents to take action and write congress now because he says they’ll have to do a lot more than that if BRAC becomes an issue again.
His office says past proceedings in 1993 and 2005 resulted in proposals to close the SUBASE and end the Connecticut National Guard’s flying mission. Connecticut’s Congressional delegation successfully intervened and halted those plans following major public outcry.