Will NAS Lemoore Growth Impact NAS Oceana and the HR Region? Recently the Commanding Officer (CO) of Lemoore, Capt Monty Ashliman, at a Fresno CA Rotary club meeting outlined his base expansion plans. The CO stated, Lemoore the Navy’s largest Air Station currently has 15 active F/A 18 squadrons. In August and in 2018 other squadrons will be added. Soon the Navy’s newest Navy aircraft, the F-35 will be based at Lemoore. (The plan is to transition F/A 18C to F-35.) In all 3,000 active duty and their families will be moving to the region by 2018. The CO went on to say “About 60% of the Nations naval fighter jets will sit in Lemoore. The Pacific Strike Fighter Wing, as it is called, is growing due to the Department of Defense’s plans to divert 60 percent of all spending to the Pacific theater.” The question that needs to be answered locally, will Lemoore’s gain be Oceana’s loss? The answer is obviously Yes! In addition to the projected 2 squadron loss, an additional F/A-18 squadron is presently being deactivated at Oceana.
Also mentioned in the article, stated by the CO “that the clashing borders at Lemoore’s East Coast equivalent in Virginia Beach have caused its flight training to be “one step above useless”, meaning that our military installations and surrounding communities working in coordination with one another-“ I don’t agree with the ‘useless’ statement, the cooperation between the Navy and Virginia Beach has been an example that other bases follow. Training areas and the close training ranges and targets are a big advantage to flying from Oceana. An issue not addressed by the CO is the outstanding living conditions and schools in HR, there is no comparison in the Lemoore area—ask any sailor.
(The CO was asked about his ‘useless’ comments, he said he was taken out of context, I don’t know if he was ever station in the area)