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WARREN, MI- Michigan, and specifically the Detroit area, was a big winner in the list of recommendations made Friday to a committee that will review and close 33 major military installations around the country. Scores of smaller facilities are also to be closed or realigned.

While Michigan will see a small Air National Guard base close in Battle Creek, an influx of jobs at the Detroit Arsenal in Warren will give the state a net gain in total jobs. In all, if the recommendations are adopted, Michigan will gain a total of 125 jobs.

At the Arsenal, which was part of what prompted World War II President Franklin D. Roosevelt to dub Detroit the “Arsenal of Democracy,” the Army is moving in 647 additional positions to join the 4,140 who already work there. The employment will be down somewhat at Selfridge Air National Guard Base because that facility will stay intact as is, though several units will be shuffling in and out. The 300-employee Army Garrison at Selfridge will close. The 927th Air Refueling Wing will be relocated to a base in Florida, but the 110th Fighter Wing, which is now at the W.K. Kellogg Airport Air Guard Station in Battle Creek, will be moving in to Selfridge. The total net job change at the base will be a loss of 216 jobs.

The biggest difference for the casual observer around Selfride will be in the skies over the base. The base’s F-16 fighter jets and C-130 transport planes will be relocated or retired; A-10 attack jets will be moving in from Battle Creek; and the base will beadding more KC-135 air refuelers. “Our largest facilities came out either strong orstronger. It was a real strong effort we waged here,” said US Sen. Carl Levin (D), who helped lead the lobbying effort to support the Michigan bases.

The military did say it was closing small reserve centers in Lansing and Marquette, each of which have less than 10 full-time employees, all of whom are active duty soldiers or sailors. The Arsenal will see an influx in more scientists, engineers and related staff. The complex is the military’s “premier facility” for development of automotive and related technologies, such as alternate fuel sources.

“This is the (DOD) saying that Warren, MI is where the future is, that this is where they want to put their brain power for the development of all ground vehicles. It’s going to be evident to the world. This is a major message that Southeast Michigan is not a place to shun, it’s a place to come,” said Peggy Mazarra, executive director of the Macomb Chamber of Commerce in Warren and chairwoman of the Macomb Community Action Committee. The MCAC, an adhoc committee, was put together by the county and other agencies to lobby on behalf of the Arsenal in Warren and Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Harrison Township.

“It recognizes that we’re the heartbeat of the automotive industry,” said US Rep. Sander Levin (D). State leaders were vowing to fight to attempt to keep open the Air Guard facility in Battle Creek, but even with that, the governor said Michigan had much to be proud and happy about with the announcements.

“We’ve proved our point that Michigan’s military installations are critical to the future of this nation’s homeland security,” said Gov. Jennifer Granholm. “We are disappointed, however, by the decisions that will cost jobs in Battle Creek and in Harrison Township. We will fight vigorously and pursue every avenue to maintain the vital work in Michigan.”

Even in Battle Creek, with the loss of the Air Guard facility, there was some good news.The Hart-Doyle-Inouye Federal Center in Battle Creek will remain open and its staffing of approximately 1,200 people will remain unchanged. Fort Custer Army National Guard Base in Battle Creek with 90 workers was also unscathed. The training facility serves four Midwest states and Canada.

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