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Editorial: Navys future secure
The Navys future on Whidbey Island has never been so secure.
Last weeks announcement that the Prowlers successor aircraft, the EA-18 G, will be based at Whidbey comes after earlier good news that Whidbey escaped being mentioned in the most recent Base Closure and Realignment process, and that a reconnaissance squadron from Rota, Spain, is moving here this summer.
Boeings new EA-18G is scheduled to start replacing NAS Whidbeys 10 Prowler squadrons in 2008, with the transition of all carrier air wing squadrons complete in 2013. The Navys 68 Prowlers will be replaced by 57 EA-18Gs.
The moves wont cause any cramping at the Whidbey base. While the Rota squadron adds personnel, the two-seater EA-18G will require fewer people than the four-seater Prowler. The human population at the base looks like it will be holding steady for years to come.
NAS Whidbey is the engine that drives Island Countys economy, and now its secure for the foreseeable future. That couldnt be said in earlier decades, so its refreshing to have clear skies ahead as far as the eye can see.
With the base secured, the islands economic boosters can focus on attracting clean industries that provide living wage jobs to both long-time islanders and newly arriving Navy spouses.
Meanwhile, City of Oak Harbor and Island County planners can make sure that the future includes plenty of parks, open spaces and beach access points so that Whidbey Island continues to be a great home for the U.S. Navy.