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Defense bill includes funding for military initiatives in Meridian

By Staff
From staff reports
Dec. 21, 2001
WASHINGTON Military projects in the Meridian area are included in a $317.4 billion funding bill for the Department of Defense that cleared the U.S. House and Senate on Thursday.
The proposal, which is expected to head to the president for his signature, includes money for projects in the Meridian area.
Naval Air Station Meridian will get $179 million for six T-45C trainer aircraft; $4.1 million for improved runway lighting and $1.4 million for the Regional Counter Drug Training Academy.
Lockheed Martin in Meridian will share part of $500 million to help build seven C-130J aircraft for the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard and U.S. Marine Corps.
Pickering, who represents the 3rd Congressional District which includes Meridian and Lauderdale County said research at Mississippi State University continues to provide cutting-edge military technology.
The legislation would fund the U.S. Department of Defense for fiscal year 2002, which began Oct. 1. It would give the department $19.2 billion more than was appropriated for the previous year.
The bill also would fund a 4.6 percent pay raise for military personnel and $881 million for counter-terrorism and weapons of mass destruction prevention.
Besides the Meridian projects, the bill would fund several other military projects in Mississippi including $1.12 billion for at least six C-17 aircraft at the 172nd Air National Guard in Jackson.
The C-17 is a large four-engine, cargo-transport jet used for moving equipment and troops. The 172nd Air National Guard will be the first National Guard unit in the country to have the craft.