President Carter Played Role in Saving Connecticut Sub Base

first_imgOn the 10th anniversary of the 2005 BRAC Commission’s final votes on the Pentagon’s closure and realignment recommendations, the Norwich Bulletin recounts a little-known story about the role former President Jimmy Carter played in helping overturn DOD’s proposal to close Naval Submarine Base New London in southeastern Connecticut.Nine days before the commission was scheduled to vote, Carter, who spent seven years at Groton during his Navy career in the submarine service, wrote to Commission Chairman Anthony Principi. Instead of supporting the department’s recommendation to close New London, which would have benefited the sub base in his home state of Georgia, Carter urged Principi to reject it.“Kings Bay could certainly be expanded to accommodate a larger contingent of ships and personnel, and this region would welcome the additional jobs that may be transferred from Connecticut,” Carter said. “However, I am concerned about the adverse economic impact on the New London area, the abandonment of a huge installation of facilities, and, less quantitatively, a loss of some of the proud submariners’ heritage of our historic association with service and training in New London,” he wrote.At the time, former Connecticut Sen. Christopher Dodd (D) said the letter was an “important development” in the state’s campaign to save the base. “As far as I know, it is entirely unprecedented in the 17 years of the BRAC process for a former commander-in-chief to write to save a particular military base from closure,” Dodd said.Carter was criticized at home for supporting Groton, but his loyalty to the submarine service and his fondness for the region ultimately won out, according to the story.On Aug. 24, 2005, the commission voted 7-1 with one abstention to overturn DOD’s recommendation to close the sub base. After the vote, Principi told the Bulletin that Carter’s letter was one of several “key factors” that swayed the commission. Dan Cohen AUTHORlast_img


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