MacDill personnel concerned about proposed budget cuts

With Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel recommending the Army shrink its size, people around MacDill Air Force Base are asking the same question: Is the base at risk of closing?
While that doesn't seem to be a possibility now, the Department of Defense says it will ask Congress to look at another round of base closures in just three years. In the meantime, there are other things for personnel to worry about.
"They keep cutting, they keep cutting, they keep cutting. Why don't they take a look at themselves, see where they can cut?" said Marine veteran William Bodette.
Bodette recently retired after serving 23 years and said more cuts to the military and veterans benefits leave him beyond frustrated.
"Don't take it from the people they truly have to sacrifice. Not to include just the service members, but their families that had to sacrifice, and now you are talking about taking even more from us? What else is left? There's nothing left," he said.
Hagel laid out a new budget plan Monday that reduces active duty military by 13 percent.
"You have fewer troops, fewer ships, fewer planes, readiness is not the same standard. Of course there are going to be risks, there are risks across the whole horizon," said Hagel.
"I fought in Moagadishu, Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan and every single time we weren't up to par as far as the number of personnel we needed," said Bodette.
At MacDill air force base, cuts to benefits like housing allowances and healthcare could effect thousands. 
Nearly 900 military personnel on the base have already been told their positions are "vulnerable."
But in a statement Monday, MacDill's public affairs office said, "At this point it is too early to know how the proposed budget would affect service members assigned to the 6th Air Mobility Wing."
Bodette got help after leaving the Marines thanks to his brother Chris Brooks. He hires veterans for his landscaping business.
"They are all scared they aren't going to have medical coverage and the means to live. That's what we hear from a lot of them," said Brooks.
Hagel said even with the cuts, the U.S. military will be able to defense the country and its interests around the world.
Congress still has the final say on approving the Pentagon's budget.
Print this article Back to Top