COLUMBUS, Miss. (WTVA) -- Some in this room wear uniforms. The rest do not. Members of the Base Community Council are all on the same page and that's making sure Columbus Air Force Base is here to stay.
"We are very appreciative of Columbus Air Force Base and what they offer the city of Columbus," Columbus Mayor Robert Smith said.
What CAFB offers is a $256,000,000 annual economic impact within a 50-mile radius.
Nearly one third of the nation's pilots as well as pilots from 45 other counties are trained at CAFB. Well over 300 pilots will be trained in 2013 alone.
While the focus remains on the mission, all are quite aware of billions in budget cuts that will impact the Department of Defense.
"When you get down to it, they've probably cut through the years, but now the only thing you can cut is military installations and personnel and the Air Force is very vulnerable," District 17 Senator Terry Brown said.
Closure is not in the Commander's vocabulary, but what he does plan to do is make sure this base stands tall the best way they know how. They plan to turn out the best pilots and ace an upcoming inspection.
This time next month 130 inspectors will leave no stone unturned at Columbus Air Force Base. No one knows that better than the commander who knows efficiency is key-especially now with looming budget cuts.
He says how well they look to inspectors definitely matters.
"It does. From the watchful eye looking down on the base and seeing how well we utilize the resources that are given to us, but also how well we are able to defend the nation-train our pilots who get to go forth and defend the nation outside the base," Co. Sears said.
Colonel Sears says anytime there is talk about trimming or losing resources, his focus must remain on the mission. He says it's important to get back to that and do well with what they have and continue operations that way.