Congressman Wants OLF Site Removed

By: Bill Wilson
By: Bill Wilson

A North Carolina congressman says the Navy should remove one of two sites it's considering in the state for an outlying landing field.

Third District Congressman Walter Jones wrote a letter to Navy Secretary Donald Winter. asking that the Hale's Lake site in Camden & Currituck counties be removed.

Jones told the Navy secretary that based on local opposition, and his long-standing desire for the Navy to consider a site closer to Cherry Point as his reasons.

His congressional district includes Camden and Currituck counties.

The Navy is considering two OLF sites in North Carolina and three in Virginia so pilots from Cherry Point and Oceana can practice take-offs and landings from a simulated aircraft carrier.

In addition to Hales Lake, the Navy is also considering the Sandbanks site in Gates County.

Congressman Jones' letter

Dear Secretary Winter:

As you know, for at least a decade I have publicly encouraged the Navy to consider a site for a new Outlying Landing Field (OLF) at or near Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina. Also, I have long opposed a site in northeastern North Carolina. Previous efforts by the Navy to build an OLF in Washington County were unproductive and the same mistakes do not need to be repeated.

Accordingly, I am writing to formally ask you to remove the Hale's Lake Site, located in North Carolina's Camden and Currituck counties, from consideration for an OLF to support Carrier Air Wing Aircraft at Naval Air Station Oceana and Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia. Although I recognize the importance of a new OLF to provide year-round capacity to support field carrier landing practice training requirements, an OLF is not needed to support operations of Super Hornet squadrons to be stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point.

Local opposition to the proposed site is overwhelming. Local officials, groups and citizens have voiced their concerns and I believe they are valid. The economic development of Camden and Currituck counties is significantly hampered by the consideration of this site for an OLF. Camden County would be forced to sacrifice valuable farmland from the tax roster and future economic losses are anticipated by the county. Furthermore, hosting an OLF would cause these counties to lose the attractiveness of the area's quality of life and would prevent them from developing in a manner compatible with their long-range plans.

I commend the Navy for its effort to find a suitable location for its requirements. However, I do not believe American taxpayers' money should be spent on a study of this site. I respectfully urge you to remove the Hale's Lake Site from consideration. Thank you for your consideration of this important request.

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