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MO, IL officials cross fingers for BRAC votes

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Washington, DC – The commission reviewing a list of proposed military base closures and consolidations started voting this morning (Wednesday) on whether it agrees with those recommendations.

Members of the The Base Realignment and Closure Commission quickly voted to close five major bases in Georgia, New Jersey, Virginia and Michigan.

The Pentagon did not recommend closing any bases in Missouri or Illinois, but other proposed changes would mean thousands of job losses.

The Pentagon wants to shut down the 131st Fighter Wing at Lambert Airport and move the wing's F-15 fighter jets to other facilities.

There are also offices in Overland and north St. Louis that have been slated for closure, which would mean hundreds of military and civilian job losses to the region.

Commissioners have vowed not to rubber-stamp Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's plan. They say changes are likely before they send their final report to President Bush next month. But just what may be changed is unclear.

In Illinois, hundreds of jobs and military positions would be lost at the Rock Island Arsenal, Springfield's Air National Guard base and The Great Lakes Naval Recruit Training Command in North Chicago.

But the Pentagon's recommendations would also add about 800 jobs at Scott Air Force Base, in Mascoutah.

The commission has more than 200 major recommendations on which to vote. And Commission Chairman Anthony Principi says those 200 affect another 600 installations across the country.

The voting process is expected to run through Friday.