NAS Meridian Out Of Running For Navy Jets

MERIDIAN, Miss. (AP) - Naval Air Station Meridian is out of the running as the home base for the Navy's newest jet fighters, says U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering, R-Miss.

NAS Meridian was one of four potential sites for the Navy's F/A 18 Super Hornets and their permanent attachment of pilots and support personnel.

Pickering said Wednesday that he was told by Assistant Navy Secretary H. T. Johnson that the squadron would be located elsewhere.

"A Navy review found ... we could not safely operate both the training wing and the F/A 18s at Meridian,'' Johnson said in an April 17 letter to Pickering. "Locating the Super Hornets at NAS Meridian would result in moving the training wing from Meridian, and there is no single location where we could do so effectively and efficiently.''

Pickering said the Navy's decision means more emphasis on pilot training at Meridian.

"This is the best decision for the community and a strong statement on the core mission and future of NAS Meridian,'' he said.