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Furloughed Wright Patt workers will be paid

Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 @ 4:02 PM


            AWright-Patterson Air Force Base. STAFF FILE PHOTO
            STAFF/File
AWright-Patterson Air Force Base. STAFF FILE PHOTO(STAFF/File)

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base furloughed about 8,600 civil service employees during a short-lived federal government closure, the most at the state’s largest single-site employer since a shutdown last struck less than five years ago.

Federal employees who were furloughed or who worked during a three-day partial federal government closure Saturday through Monday will be paid under legislation Congress endorsed to end the standoff.

But many who left the job or were told to keep working during the shutdown harbor concerns it could happen once more when a short-term stopgap funding measure that reopened the government ends Feb. 8, according to Troy Tingey, president of the American Federation of Government Employees Council 214.

The council represents thousands of workers at Wright-Patterson.

“They’re very frustrated out there in the shops, very frustrated and worry that it could happen again,” said Tingey, who is at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, and took calls from Air Force employees across the country. “… I was probably getting a call every five or 10 minutes yesterday for the first four hours.”

A shutdown ‘routine’

While this short-lived closure wasn’t expected to have a large impact on base operations, it has created instability and concern it’s now a routine, according to Michael Gessel, Dayton Development Coalition vice president of federal programs.

RELATED: Thousands head back to work at Wright-Patt as shutdown ends

“The long-term effect of this is instability in the government and one more reason for government workers to be frustrated with their employer,” he said. “This kind of thing which now happens on a regular basis makes it difficult to retain and recruit the best talent which Wright-Patterson needs.

“Because the shutdown was so short, it is not likely to have significant effects on the operations of Wright-Patterson, but cumulatively this kind of thing can be very detrimental, and it’s not just to Wright-Patterson. It’s to federal installations all over the country.”

Since September, Congress has passed four short term spending resolutions while it attempts to pass a fully funded budget that includes defense spending for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1. The latest impasse between Democrats and Republicans sparked a standoff that led to the shutdown.

RELATED: Aviation Hall of Fame enshrinement to return to Dayton in 2020

In October 2013, a partial federal government shutdown sent about 8,700 civil service workers at the base on furlough.

“Given that a shutdown should never occur, there is no reason that there should ever be a government shutdown happening this close on the heels of the last shutdown, it’s moving to routine,” Gessel said. “Some of the federal agencies simply took their 2013 shutdown plans and implemented them.”

Air Force museum reopens

The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force reopened Tuesday. The sprawling complex, home to hundreds of airplanes and an iconic presidential aircraft collection, closed after opening four hours Saturday.

RELATED: SHUTDOWN: Air Force museum closes; Wright-Patt workers face furlough

Spokeswoman Diana Bachert said the museum opened at 9 a.m. Saturday and had not yet received a closure order from the Air Force Materiel Command.

Once the order was in hand, the museum closed by 1 p.m. after nearly 1,500 people had entered and scheduled activities were canceled.

By comparison, over the same three-day period in January 2017, nearly 4,700 people visited on a Saturday, 2,220 on a Sunday, and about 600 on a Monday, museum statistics show.

The museum also furloughed about 95 workers during the brief shutdown.

The National Park Service’s Huffman Prairie Flying Field Interpretive Center near Wright-Patterson and the Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center in Dayton shuttered Saturday and remained closed while more than a dozen staff members were furloughed.

The centers were due to reopen during normally scheduled seasonal hours Wednesday, according to acting park superintendent Kendell Thompson.

“The staff are very relieved and happy to be back at work,” he said Tuesday.

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Top Gun pilot to speak at film screening

Published: Wednesday, February 14, 2018 @ 6:04 PM


            The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. BARRIE BARBER/STAFF
The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. BARRIE BARBER/STAFF

A real-life Top Gun is scheduled to be at a screening of Top Gun 3D at the Air Force Museum Theatre.

Retired Navy Capt. Ken Ginader, a former Top Gun instructor and F-14 pilot, was set to speak at the screening of film, set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 15. Doors open at 6 p.m.

Ginader is the first speaker in the 2018 Living History Film Series at the museum.

Tickets cost $12 for audience members, or $10 for members of Friends of the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.

For more information, click onto http://www.afmuseum.com/livinghistory .

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Wright-Patt training exercise sets off booms

Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 3:22 PM


            Wright-Patterson Air Force Base
            STAFF/File
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base(STAFF/File)

If you heard a loud noise today at Wright-Patterson, it was all part of training, a base spokesman says.

The Dayton Daily News and News Center 7 were contacted by residents inquiring what was the cause of the explosion.

A Wright-Patterson Explosive Ordnance Disposal bomb squad was scheduled to set off three explosions between noon and 4 p.m. Wednesday, according to base spokesman Daryl Mayer.

The unit periodically sets off explosions in training which are often heard outside the base.

RELATED:Air Force Marathon tops list of ‘best’ fall marathons

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Book chronicles heroism of war correspondents like OSU’s Cecil Brown

Published: Friday, February 16, 2018 @ 4:49 PM

As he scanned the names of the past winners of the Peabody award for broadcast journalism, Reed Smith, a professor of journalism at Georgia Southern University, came across the name Cecil Brown of CBS and admitted he “had never heard of him before.”

It began a four-year effort by Smith that culminated last November in the release of his book, “Cecil Brown: The Murrow Boy Who Became Broadcasting’s Crusader for Truth.” It’s the story of an Ohio State University student from 1929 who reached the pinnacle of broadcast journalism during World War II and the era of Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s.

Smith became fascinated with Brown’s story and it is easy to see why. As a CBS Radio broadcaster in Singapore in December 1941 he nearly lost his life when Japanese torpedo bombers sank the British battlecruiser Repulse in the South China Sea. Brown was a correspondent on the Repulse.

His gripping minute-by-minute account of the disaster for CBS, which also included the destruction of the British battleship Prince of Wales, earned him the Peabody award and transformed him into one of the best-known correspondents of World War II.

“There were upwards of a thousand sailors who died during that attack,” Smith said. “He was not wounded during attack and fortunately was able to get off the ship. A British sailor reached out in the water off a Carley Float and grabbed him. Cecil thought he had just about had it. It was pretty miraculous.”

Brown also was known for his legendary battles with Italian and British censors in World II as they tried to block or alter his broadcasts, prompting Smith to describe Brown as “very feisty. He was a big First Amendment guy and he became quite exasperated when anybody tried to curtail his freedom of the press.”

RELATED: Cecil Brown’s obituary

For Smith, 68, it was a case of one Ohio man meeting another. Smith, a graduate of Ohio University who earned an M.A. from Bowling Green and then a Ph.D from Ohio University, grew up in New Concord. Brown, who died in 1987, was raised in Warren, married a woman from Columbus who is still alive in Los Angeles at age 104.

He left Ohio State nine hours short of a degree in 1929 and worked as a reporter for a number of years before Edward R. Murrow hired him at CBS Radio in 1940 and assigned him to cover the war from Rome.

Brown reported in an entirely different era than today when journalists are under relentless attacks from President Donald Trump and many conservatives.

“It tells us the public view of journalism has changed drastically over the past 70 years,” Smith said. “Murrow and Cecil were seen as heroes. They were brave men in the war zone telling the truth for what was going on and continuing to get in trouble for telling the truth.”

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Work to start next month on $10.5 million Wright-Patt gateway

Published: Thursday, February 15, 2018 @ 5:30 PM


            Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Gate 16A, a commercial truck screening checkpoint, will be consolidated with a new Gate 26A in 2019 in a $10.5 million construction project. JIM WITMER | 2011 STAFF FILE PHOTO
            Jim Witmer
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Gate 16A, a commercial truck screening checkpoint, will be consolidated with a new Gate 26A in 2019 in a $10.5 million construction project. JIM WITMER | 2011 STAFF FILE PHOTO(Jim Witmer)

A new $10.5 million gateway that will consolidate two Wright-Patterson entrances into one is set to begin construction next month, a base spokesman says.

A new Gate 26A, a few hundred yards from the current one, would replace a commercial delivery entrance at Gate 16A off Ohio 444, and the existing Gate 26A off Ohio 235 near the entrance to the 445th Airlift Wing headquarters.

The new entrance way off Ohio 235 will be sited between Sandhill Road and Circle Drive, according to Wright-Patterson spokesman Daryl Mayer.

Work was scheduled for completion at the end of next year, the base said.

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