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Military bill sails through Senate

AROUND MISSISSIPPI — The Senate yesterday gave unanimous approval to legislation that will direct military construction funding to four Department of Defense installations in Mississippi, Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) reported.

Cochran was among those voting for the FY2010 Military Construction and Veterans’ Affairs Appropriations Bill (HR.3082). The bill, passed 100-0, would provide $50.2 million for projects at Columbus Air Force Base, Keesler Air Force Base, Monticello National Guard Readiness Center and the Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center.

The following are of interest in Mississippi:

• Columbus Air Force Base — $9.8 million for an aircraft fuel systems maintenance facility to provide adequate workspace for Air Force aircraft maintenance and government quality assurance personnel

• Monticello National Guard Readiness Center — $14.3 million to construct a new facility to provide adequate space to support Army National Guard readiness and training

• Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center — $16.1 million to support a Combined Arms Collective Training Facility at this Mississippi Army National Guard installation

• Keesler Air Force Base — $9.8 million for an Air Force Reserve Aerial Port Squadron facility

The legislation also allows the expenditure of $134 million from the Armed Forces Retirement Home Trust Fund to operate the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Washington, D.C., and the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Gulfport. Damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, a new $194.4-million retirement home in Gulfport is expected to be completed in July 2010.

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