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NAS Whidbey to get six P8-A squadrons
The Navy has decided to base six P-8A squadrons at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station at the close of the Environmental Impact Study.
The decision was published in the Federal Register April 25.The Navy weighed two alternatives during the EIS process and chose the option to base six fleet squadrons at NAS Whidbey and six fleet squadrons plus the replacement squadron at Jacksonville Naval Air Station in Florida.
Congressman Rick Larsen issued a statement lauding the Navy’s decision to base the six P-8A squadrons at NAS Whidbey.
“The Navy’s decision today signifies the prominent role that NAS Whidbey Island plays for maritime patrol and other naval operations in the Pacific," Larsen said. "Basing six squadrons of P-8As on the island is great news for the stability of the base, for the Whidbey Island community and for our national security.
“I have been a determined advocate to bring the P-8As to Whidbey Island. They will serve a critical role in our country’s pivot to the Asia-Pacific region as a focus for security and economic interests. I am pleased the Navy has once again shown its commitment to NAS Whidbey Island,” Larsen said.
In its decision, the Navy said officials weighed “public comments, as well as strategy, operational, and environmental effects.”
The choice also calls for a permanent rotating squadron detachment at Hawaii Marine Corps Base and periodic squadron detachments to Corondo Naval Base in California.
The decision presents the "greatest re-use of existing facilities and optimizes manpower, simulators, and facilities at NAS Jacksonville and NAS Whidbey Island," according to a Wednesday news release.
The second option would have based seven squadrons at NAS Whidbey and five squadrons at NAS Jacksonville.
The decision is available for review on the project website at www.mmaseis.com. Copies have also been distributed to the Oak Harbor City Library, 1000 S.E. Regatta Drive, and the Coupeville Public Library, 788 N.W. Alexander St.