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Cutting aircraft carriers threatens Naval Station Mayport

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Updated: 7/31/2013 11:52 pm
MAYPORT -- Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is warning that the Pentagon may have to mothball up to three Navy aircraft carriers and order more sharp reductions in the size of the Army and Marine Corps if Congress doesn't act to avoid massive budget cuts beginning in 2014.

"This nation will not be able to respond the way it has been expected to over the last 50 years," said Ret. Navy Adm. Robert Natter.

Natter says our nation's military is now defending itself from a different foe: Washington budget cuts.

The move to mothball means those ships will be kept operational but won't see any action.

Natter says sidelining ships may save money now, but ultimately puts our national security at risk. "The idea of saving short term money for long term impact and suffering is short-sided and really, really stupid."

Natter fears the move will also delay the arrival of three amphibious ships to Naval Station Mayport.

It's unsettling news for Mike Whalen, longtime owner of Specialty Marine & Industrial Supplies, a marine industrial hardware store for the U.S. Navy located in Atlantic Beach.

"Fewer sailors means less business for everybody," said Whalen. "The food service business, the haircut people, the insurance people... just go down Mayport Road and see all the for lease signs and the closed shops and it's only going to get worse."

Jacksonville has kept a nuclear aircraft carrier on its wish list for years, which is something Natter, a local military insider, says is now a long shot.

"Well, we would not see a nuclear aircraft carrier down here if we were to layup three carriers," said Natter.

Hagel told Pentagon reporters Wednesday that the full result of the sweeping budget cuts over the next 10 years could leave the nation with an ill-prepared, under-equipped military doomed to face more technologically advanced enemies.

In his starkest terms to date, Hagel laid out a worst-case scenario for the U.S. military if the Pentagon is forced is forced to slash more than $50 billion from the 2014 budget and $500 billion over the next 10 years as a result of congressionally mandated automatic spending cuts.

Action News reached out to U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson who said, "This is the most idiotic way to go about appropriating money, especially for the national security and defense of this country... Ideology is getting in the way of common sense."

Action News also requested comment from officials at Naval Station Mayport, but our call has not been returned.
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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of Action News Jacksonville

osprey1 - 8/1/2013 2:47 PM
0 Votes
This news item wouldn't be an issue if Obama and Kerry would stop giving Egypt $10, BILLION, 20 F-18's and 100 M-1 tanks while he and his family keeps taking $100, Million dollar vacations.

Realchange - 8/1/2013 12:47 PM
0 Votes
13 aircraft carriers with over 5,000 saliors on each one. You do the math on the cost each month to keep that kind armada going. Each carrier in turn requires cruisers, destroyers, and sub as combat escorts. They also require 2 to 3 auxiliary supply support ships even if they are nuclear powered. Who in the world is capable of taking on our Navy right now? No one except maybe Russia. China has threatened they can destroy our carriers as they are vulnerable to missile attacks. Russia similar design plans. If we going mothball a few to save money so be it but don't bring them back unless a real war breaks out that would require such reactivation. Keep this in mind no country in the world can fight wars for 12 years give to the nations they invade and not take in new resources and labor from the conquered lands. I detest Obama but considering our state of the deficit this is the right move. Former US Navy veteran honorable discharged served in Desert Storm sickened by the US government who refuses to acknowledge it.

Truthseeker - 8/1/2013 4:38 AM
1 Vote
This is just another step by Obama and his lackeys to weaken our country's defenses so that Obama's radical Islamists buddies or some Socialistic group can attempt to take over our country.
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