Moody AFB, Georgia
Moody AFB is located in South Georgia, just 30 miles north of the Florida border. The base lies 10 miles northeast of the city of Valdosta on Georgia highway 125, also known as Bemiss Road.
The wing is home to the 347th Rescue Wing, the only Combat Search and Rescue Wing in the Air Force. Their mission is to organize, train, and employ a combat-ready, HC-130, HH-60 rescue wing consisting of 3,400 military and civilian personnel. The wing supports the 479th AETC Flying Training and 820th Security Forces Groups in all operations. The 347th Rescue Wing executes worldwide peacetime and Combat Search and Rescue operations in support of humanitarian and U.S. national security interests. The wing provides logistical and base support functions for assigned personnel and over 5,000 family members.
Moody AFB has a population of 3,637 active duty personnel, 5,229 family members, and 462 civilian workers. Moody AFB is located in Lowndes and Lanier Counties in south-central Georgia, with a majority of the base, including the entire main base, located within Lowndes County. The base is located approximately ten miles northeast of Valdosta and six miles southwest of Lakeland. Land uses in the areas surrounding Moody AFB consist primarily of undeveloped wetland areas to the east and the south, and rural residential, agriculture and wetlands towards the west and the north. In the immediate vicinity of the base, land uses consist mainly of sparsely populated open space and agricultural lands with several residential subdivisions located southwest of the base and small areas of commercial development along State Route 125.
The closest major cities to Moody AFB include Atlanta, approximately 230 miles to the north, and Jacksonville, Florida, about 120 miles to the southeast. Interstate 75 passes approximately twelve miles to the west and State Route 125 offers the primary access route to the base. Moody AFB occupies 11,402 acres of federally owned land. The facilities consist of the main base (5,039 acres), the Grand Bay Range (5,874 acres) and the Grassy Pond Recreational Annex (489 acres). The main base consists of 1,990 improved acres, 3,018 undeveloped (forested) acres, and Mission Lake with a surface area of 30 acres. In addition, easements and rights-of-way account for an additional 403 acres.
The 1995 Moody AFB General Plan indicates that future plans for the base include an expansion of runway 18L/36R from 8,000 feet to 9,300 feet. Though definite plans do not yet exist, privately owned land adjacent to the Military Family Housing area has been identified as a future housing expansion alternative. Overall, minimal changes in land use patterns are expected in the future at Moody AFB. Alterations and expansion of the airfield operations/ maintenance and housing will likely present the most significant changes, and as a result, currently undeveloped land may be reduced to support the developmental activities
The base is host to one HH-60G rescue squadron and one HC-130P rescue squadron. The HC-130P flies low-level missions into hostile territory to effect rescues and to provide air refueling for rescue helicopters. The HH-60G helicopter provides combat search and rescue capability as well as fulfilling a peacetime role of search and rescue. The AT-38 squadron focuses on teaching recent pilot training graduates the fighter aircraft fundamentals. The T-6 squadron instructs pilot training students the fundamentals of flying.
Moody has two parallel runways (18/36L & R). Instrument approaches include TACAN and ILS. Normal traffic pattern operations are conducted west of the base due to R-3008 (Grand Bay Range) which lies adjacent to Moody on the east side.
Moody AFB contributes approximately $116 million annually to the area economy through payroll expenditures. Additionally, annual expenditures of $30 million are contributed to the area economy through service contracts and $7 million are contributed through local purchase. In total, this $153 million contributed annually to the southeastern Georgia economy accounts for a significant portion of the expenditures throughout the region as a whole.
Located in the lower coastal plain physiographic region, Moody AFB possesses a diversity of habitats. The area is dominated by pines and lowland hardwoods and supports a wide array of plant and wildlife species. Habitats featured at Moody AFB include upland pine forest, pine flatwoods, gum-bay-shrub swamps, and freshwater ponds. Unimproved areas of Moody AFB feature pine flatwoods and extensive wetland acreage.
Moody sits between two huge bird attractants (Banks NWR and Grand Bay WMA). Species of concern are Turkey Vultures, Black Vultures, Sandhill Crane, Cattle Egret, and resident waders in the surrounding wetlands.
Moody Air Force Base was named in memory of Major George Putnam Moody, an Air Force pioneer killed in May 1941, while serving with the Beech Aircraft Company in Wichita, Kansas. At the time of his death, Major Moody was working on the inspection board for the AT-10 transitional trainers that were later sent to Moody AFB.
The base had its beginning in 1940, when a group of concerned Valdosta and Lowndes County citizens began searching for a way to assist the expanding defense program. Careful investigation showed that the development of an air corp training base would be the best way to help the program. On May 14, 1941, the War Department was granted exclusive use of 9,300 acres of land by the Agriculture Department.
From its beginning in 1941 until late 1975, Moody served as a pilot training base for thousands of Air Force pilots. In 1975, the base mission changed from one of pilot training to one of flying fighters, when the 347th Tactical Fighter Wing relocated here from Thailand. On 8 May 2001, Moody became the 347th Rescue Wing, and its mission changed to that of a search and rescue wing. Additionally, the 347th Rescue Wing supports the 479th AETC Flying Training and 820th Security Forces Groups. Today, Air Combat Command professionals fly HC-130s and HH60 helicopters.
Secretary of Defense Recommendations: Realign Eielson Air Force Base, AK. The 354th Fighter Wing's assigned A-10 aircraft will be distributed to the 917th Wing Barksdale Air Force Base, LA (three aircraft); to a new active-duty unit at Moody Air Force Base, GA (12 aircraft); and to backup inventory (three aircraft). The 354th Fighter Wing's F-16 aircraft will be distributed to the 57th Wing, Nellis Air Force Base, NV (18 aircraft). The Air National Guard Tanker unit and rescue alert detachment will remain as tenants on Eielson. Realign Moody Air Force Base, by relocating base-level ALQ-184 intermediate maintenance to Shaw Air Force Base, SC, establishing a Centralized Intermediate Repair Facility (CIRF) at Shaw Air Force Base, SC, for ALQ-184 pods. Realign Shaw Air Force Base, relocating base-level TF-34 engine intermediate maintenance to Moody Air Force Base, establishing a CIRF at Moody Air Force Base for TF-34 engines. Realign Pope Air Force Base, NC. Distribute the 43rd Airlift Wing's C-130E aircraft (25 aircraft) to the 314th Airlift Wing, Little Rock Air Force Base, AR; realign the 23rd Fighter Group's A-10 aircraft (36 aircraft) to Moody Air Force Base, GA.
Realign Moody Air Force Base, GA, as follows: Relocate the Primary Phase of Fixed-wing Pilot Training to Columbus Air Force Base, MS; Laughlin Air Force Base, TX; and Vance Air Force Base, OK. Relocate Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals Training for Pilots to Columbus Air Force Base, MS; Laughlin Air Force Base, TX; Randolph Air Force Base, TX; Sheppard Air Force Base, TX; and Vance Air Force Base, OK. Relocate Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals Training for Weapons Systems Officers to Columbus Air Force Base, MS; Laughlin Air Force Base, TX; Sheppard Air Force Base, TX; and Vance Air Force Base, OK. Relocate Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals Training for Instructor Pilots to Randolph Air Force Base, TX.
Secretary of Defense Justification: Eielson's (11) military value is high because of its close proximity to valuable airspace and ranges; however, Eielson is an expensive base to operate and improve (build). The Air Force recommends realigning Eielson, but keeping the base open in a "warm" status using the resident Air National Guard units and a portion of the infrastructure to continue operating the base for USAF/Joint/Combined exercises. The Air Force distributes the F-16s to Nellis (13) a base with high military value, and the A-10s to Moody (11-SOF/CSAR), which also ranks high in military value. The CIRFs at Moody and Shaw compliment force structure moves and anticipate these bases as workload centers for these commodities. Active-duty C-130s and A-10s will move to Little Rock (17-airlift) and Moody (11-SOF/CSAR), respectively, to consolidate force structure at those two bases and enable Army recommendations at Pope.This recommendation will realign and consolidate the Air Force's primary phase of undergraduate flight training functions to reduce excess/unused basing capacity, eliminate redundancy, enhance jointness for Undergraduate Navigator Training/Naval Flight Officer (NFO) training, reduce excess capacity, and improve military value. The basing arrangement that flows from this recommendation will allow the Inter-service Training Review Organization process to establish a DoD baseline program in Undergraduate Navigator Training/NFO with curricula that permit services latitude to preserve service-unique culture and a faculty and staff that brings a "Train as we fight: jointly" national perspective to the learning process.
Community Concerns: There were no formal concerns from the Moody AFB community regarding this issue.
Commission Findings: The Commission found no reason to disagree with the Secretary’s recommendation or justification. The Commission understands the proposal will realign training to other installations where the same mission already exists, maintenance facilities are established, and capacity to absorb the mission is adequate. As a result, the Commission finds the recommendation appropriately enhances military value at reasonable cost.
Commission Recommendations: The Commission found that the Secretary of Defense deviated substantially from final selection criteria 1 and 5, as well as from the Force Structure Plan. Therefore, the Commission recommends the following:
Realign Moody Air Force Base, by relocating base-level ALQ-184 intermediate maintenance to Shaw Air Force Base, SC, establishing a Centralized Intermediate Repair Facility (CIRF) at Shaw Air Force Base, SC for ALQ-184 pods.
Realign Shaw Air Force Base, relocating base-level TF-34 engine intermediate maintenance to Moody Air Force Base, establishing a CIRF at Moody Air Force Base for TF-34 engines.
Establish 48 PAA A-10 aircraft at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia.
The Commission found that this change and the recommendation as amended are consistent with the final selection criteria and the Force Structure Plan. The full text of this and all Commission recommendations can be found in Appendix Q.
The Commission finds the Secretary’s recommendation realign and consolidate the Air Force’s primary phase of undergraduate flight training functions consistent with the final selection criteria and the Force Structure Plan. Therefore, the Commission approves the recommendation of the Secretary.
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