augusta free press news

Elaine Luria: Infrastructure is No. 1 need at NAS Oceana

Elaine LuriaWhen Congresswoman Elaine Luria (VA-02) recently toured Naval Air Station Oceana, she asked for the top issue at the East Coast Master Jet Base. The blunt answer? “Infrastructure.”

With most of the base infrastructure built in the 1950s, Oceana’s Commanding Officer, CAPT Chad Vincelette, highlighted the pressing need to renovate or replace aging facilities.

For example, the base’s largest squadron, VFA-106, the Fleet Replacement Squadron, trains all new and returning F/A-18 pilots. The squadron’s hangar was built in 1957. The roof leaks, the air conditioning system doesn’t work, and the bathroom plumbing frequently clogs and leaks.

More importantly, the fire suppression system does not function, placing at risk a dozen aircraft that cost $70 million apiece. The system could be repaired for far less than the cost of a single aircraft.

In addition to hangar issues, several of the base’s barracks – totaling about 800 rooms – have been condemned due to black mold and leaky roofs. Junior sailors who would otherwise live there are then forced to rent apartments ahead of being financially prepared to do so.

“The House just passed a $733 billion defense budget, so there has to be funding to address these foundational needs,” Congresswoman Luria said. “In Hampton Roads, we understand how important our training and maintenance facilities are to prepare our forces for deployment. Congress and the Navy must prioritize these repairs and in some cases replace whole buildings. I’ll bring what I’ve learned to Washington and fight for our strong military community.”

augusta free press
augusta free press