New York State's final budget includes $5 million dollars to protect state mililtary bases from closing, including for the at in Westhampton, according to a statement sent to the media from State Assemblyman Fred Thiele, Jr.
"By including this critical funding in the state Budget, New York is taking the first step in another long battle to safeguard the 106th Rescue Wing," said Thiele.
According to Thiele, the 106th, which provides search and rescue services and one of the oldest units in the Air National Guard, faced a possibly closure in 2005 though a Base Realignment and Closure process.
However, the wing was saved, but that is not to say another round of closures for air bases couldn't happen, which is why the state money is so vital, said Theile.
"It takes years to train men and women for the search and rescue missions performed by the 106th. It would be a mistake to consider closing this installation and losing that expertise in any future BRAC process. Gabreski also has an important economic impact on the East End of Long Island. The $5 million in the State Budget will be critical in again delivering this message to Washington," said Theile.