I hope this email finds you safe and healthy as we all deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. As you may have seen on our LCLA Facebook page your LCLA board met yesterday via zoom. (below meeting picture) I apologize upfront as this is a lengthy email, but I wanted to share with you some of the items we discussed as well as other information you may find interesting.
First, I’m excited to share with you that the Langley’s F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team along with two P-51 Mustangs will pay tribute Tuesday, May 12, to the State of Virginia’s First Responders, Medical Workers and Essential Personnel in their response to COVID – 19. They will begin in Richmond, then Williamsburg, Newport News, Hampton, Norfolk and Virginia Beach. Hampton’s flyover will be 7:00 - 7:10 p.m.
In terms of where LCLA stands, as we look to the future during the COVID-19 pandemic, I’m pleased to inform you that we continue to plan to advocate for and support the Airmen and their families assigned to JBLE-Langley. We anticipate being even more engaged during the coming months as we begin to live in a “new normal” environment. We’re hopeful we will be able to hold our August luncheon and will keep you posted as we near that date. Unfortunately some of the major events and programs we sponsor have been put on hold for the time being.
For example, we’ve had to temporarily postpone the “Adopt an Airman” program. To date a total of 210 (Host & Airmen) have participated in the program and we’ve received very positive feedback from both the families and Airmen. My Langley AFB contact, MSgt Brent Likes, and I were all set to pair and additional 10-11 Airmen with host/host families in the community, the week before the State stay at home order was issued. As a result we contacted both the host/host families and Airmen to let them know we are on hold. Once we believe it’s safe to start the program back up we will let everyone know. LCLA was also on tap to help sponsor and host the JBLE-Langley Family Appreciation Day, which was scheduled for this month but has been postponed. We’re looking forward to a new date when the installation will add the event back on their schedule. And finally, we cancelled the joint LCLA/AFA orientation/tour of the 633rd Mission Support Group, but again look forward to possibly rescheduling that event later this year.
I’m also excited to share some additional news regarding the future of JBLE-Langley in terms of new missions and jobs. As many of you know my full-time job in the City of Hampton is working with our Federal Partners on a variety of fronts. My work with Langley Air Force Base is keeping me busy as we are conducting several important projects in support of the installation and new missions. These projects are critical to JBLE-Langley in terms of enhancing the overall resiliency of the installation here in Hampton. The first project, is a study underway looking at potential courses of action (COA), to relocate the JBLE-Langley West Gate off of N. Armistead Avenue from inside the clear zone (off the end of the runway) to a safer location outside that flight approach zone. There a 3-4 potential COAs that look very promising. This project will also include closing a segment of the N. Armistead Avenue that runs through the clear zone. Again, this will allow for enhanced safety of citizens traveling this segment of the road as well as safety of flight operations. The future plan includes potentially shifting the runway from the northeast to the southwest by about 1500 feet, which allows the installation to work on protecting the northeast portion of the base from recurring flooding and sea level rise. Langley would potentially look to reinforce the shoreline by adding a sea wall, rip-rap and additional breakwaters.
The second project planned to begin in July of this year will also support resiliency efforts for the City and JBLE-Langley. The Department of Defense (DoD), Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA), has awarded the “first in the nation”, Military Installation Resiliency (MIR) Project Study Grant, to the City of Hampton in the amount of $366,544 in federal funds and $40,730 in local in-kind match, for a total award of $407,274. This project is directly linked to the ongoing Hampton Resilient efforts as well as the recommendations outlined in the 2018 Joint Land Use Study (JLUS) addendum. Recommendations in the 2018 JLUS noted that identifying high priority corridors critical to maintaining accessibility and the mission at JBLE-Langley AFB should be studied for resiliency projects. The JBLE-Langley AFB LaSalle Avenue Corridor Resiliency Plan will specifically study potential courses of action to create a more resilient access to Langley AFB, from Mercury Boulevard on to LaSalle Avenue, to the LAFB Visitor Center Gate off of LaSalle Avenue. This will be the second OEA grant funded project the City is undertaking in partnership with LAFB looking at compatible land use and resiliency opportunities. As I mentioned, this project is the first award from OEA under the new MIR program. Both studies are critical in that they will help provide important data and recommendations in support of LAFB’s new mission growth which includes the projected arrival of the F-22 formal training unit (FTU) in June 2021 with an additional 700-800 new jobs. We anticipate the annual economic impact of approximately $2.9B from the installation to increase significantly over the next several years with the arrival of the F-22 FTU and additional jobs associated with more mission growth in the Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance operations at the base.
As I wrap up my email, I also wanted to let you know that the LCLA board discussed the luncheon payments, that many of you pre-paid in advance for this year’s luncheons. We’re looking at a couple of options such as discounts for future luncheons, rebates and or rolling to the next calendar year. We appreciate those who did prepay, and understand we need to look at a responsible way forward regarding these funds. I would ask each of you to stay in touch and routinely check the LCLA website and Facebook for updates regarding our association. I’m truly appreciative of each of you for your continued support of our organization as well as the great American Airmen stationed at JBLE-Langley. We’re all going through very challenging times, but I believe we will get through this crisis together. Please stay safe and healthy!