Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, if elected, would work to base the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush at Naval Station Mayport after it’s commissioned in 2009.
Giuliani promised to do so during a campaign speech in front of the Duval County Veterans Memorial Wall outside Jacksonville Municipal Stadium.
Giuliani cited one of the reasons local leaders have given for years — fleet dispersal. All the East Coast-based carriers, all of which are nuclear-powered, are based in Norfolk, Va.
Giuliani acknowledged that making Mayport capable of supporting a nuclear-powered carrier will require new infrastructure.
The candidate has garnered the support of some of the most influential retired officers in Jacksonville, including Robert Natter, the retired four-star admiral who led the state’s efforts to preserve its military bases during the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure process.
Retired Adm. Kevin Delaney, who is a former commander of Navy Region Southeast and commanded Naval Air Station Jacksonville, joined Natter on the stage behind Giuliani, as did Dan McCarthy, a former captain in the Navy Judge Advocate General Corps and current director of military affairs for the city.
“He thinks it’s the right thing to do,” Natter said about Giuliani’s decision to make Mayport’s nuclear capability an election promise.
Giuliani credited Natter as being a close advisor to his campaign on military matters.
McCarthy noted that the Bush, with its 3,300-member crew and the shore-based personnel needed to support it, would have an economic impact as big as any company relocating or starting new operations in Jacksonville. The Bush, whose keel was laid in May 2003 and which was launched in October 2006, is under construction in Newport News, Va.
Source: Jacksonville Business Journal