Today, the South Georgia Military Affairs Council (SGMAC), with special guest U.S. Representative Jack Kingston, hosted a luncheon welcoming Col. Chad Franks to Valdosta as the 23d Wing Commander of Moody Air Force Base. The luncheon, co-hosted by Georgia Power and Colquitt EMC, drew nearly 150 area leaders to the Rainwater Conference Center.
"I am always astounded by the hospitality of our local communities and this lunch is just one example of the close relationship Moody Air Force Base enjoys with our civilian partners," said Col. Franks. "I truly mean it when I say that our surrounding cities provide the best community support in the Air Force to the airmen and families of Team Moody -- support that is unrivaled from what I've seen at other Air Force bases throughout my career."
In addition to welcoming Col. Franks, the luncheon served as a reminder of the important role that Moody Air Force Base plays in the region. According to the FY2010 Economic Impact Statement, Moody Air Force Base contributes nearly $450 million annually to the local economy. Knowing the importance of this impact, the SGMAC has made it their mission to protect and support Moody Air Force Base.
"As part of our work with the SGMAC and other entities, we will develop and be prepared to execute coordinated action plans to eliminate or mitigate things that negatively impact Moody Air Force Base, such as base realignment and closure, commonly known as BRAC, and sequestration," said Allan Ricketts with the Governor's Defense Initiative.
Representative Kingston also echoed the need to protect Moody Air Force Base and other military forces by saying, "if we can't have a country that is protected, we can't have a country that is free."
On the topic of BRAC, Representative Kingston added this, "You've [audience of area leaders] done a good job of BRAC-proofing Moody. I would be remise if I didn't say that it wasn't in part to the work Parker Greene and your Chamber has done."
The South Georgia Military Affairs Council represents an alliance among the Chambers of Commerce representing Adel-Cook County, Nashville-Berrien County, Lakeland-Lanier County and Valdosta-Lowndes County. The mission of the council is to protect Moody Air Force Base and its annual economic impact of $450 million to the region.