“Disturbing Phone Call”

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) told USAF leaders March 4 during a Senate Armed Services Committee that it was “disturbing” to hear that USAF’s plan to remove 48 F-15s at Tyndall AFB, Fla., would eliminate 801 local jobs—not 594 jobs, as was originally claimed. Equally disturbing, he continued, was that the news came in a telephone call from a third party, not the Air Force. Nelson, airing his grievance at the hearing, complained that the new jobs-lost number was “15 percent of the total workforce.” In his view, said Nelson, “this hasn’t been particularly well managed.” Air Force Secretary Michael Donley blamed the higher number on the last minute abort of a plan to “in-source the F-22 back shop maintenance,” which would have introduced more blue-suit personnel to offset the F-15 personnel cuts. He said it’s still possible, but now is “not the right time.” Congress delayed USAF’s attempt to remove the Tyndall F-15s early, but according to a News Herald report, the shift starts next month.