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New panel created to protect state's military bases
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Gov. Matt Blunt named members to a newly created state commission charged with helping ensure Missouri's military bases remain open.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's recommendations of base closures last week spared Fort Leonard Wood in south-central Missouri and Whiteman Air Force Base in western Missouri, but called for closing several smaller Missouri installations.
In the largest proposed cut, the Army Human Resources Command would move about 2,000 military and civilian jobs at the National Personnel Records Center in the St. Louis suburb Overland to Fort Knox near Louisville, Ky.
The new nine-member Missouri Military Preparedness and Enhancement Commission must devise a biennial plan to protect and attract expanded missions to the state's military installations. The plan also is to encourage the development of defense-related industries, among other things.
The commission includes five people appointed by the governor and two each by House and Senate leaders.
Blunt's appointees are:
* Army Reserve Maj. Craig Borchelt, assigned to the U.S. Army Human Resources Command in St. Louis.
* Loretta Charleston, who is retired from the military and is executive director of the Missouri Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.
* Kent Thomas, who served in the Army and is now chancellor of Southwest Missouri State University-West Plains.
* Robert Welling, who served in the Army in France in the 1950s, and is a Warrensburg lawyer and member of the board of the Whiteman Area Leadership Council.
* Dalton Wright, who served in the Navy in Vietnam, and is president and owner of the Lebanon Publishing Co., Richland Publishing Co., Ozark County Times Publishing Co., Webster County Publishing Inc. and the Pulaski County Democrat Inc.