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From the Vault: News from the Thursday, Nov. 16, 1967, edition of the Press & Journal

Posted 9/3/19
Olmsted AFB phase-out finds work force reduced to 513 Sunday will mark the third anniversary of the phase-out order of Olmsted Air Force Base. For more than 10,000 civil servants, it is not an …

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From the Vault: News from the Thursday, Nov. 16, 1967, edition of the Press & Journal

Posted
Olmsted AFB phase-out finds work force reduced to 513 Sunday will mark the third anniversary of the phase-out order of Olmsted Air Force Base. For more than 10,000 civil servants, it is not an anniversary to celebrate. The Olmsted family looks on Nov. 19 as a day of reflection — a day that started the countdown toward elimination of a veteran installation which had its genesis in the days when military airpower was just a fledgling. Another Nov. 19 will no longer find it in existence — just a memory. Its demise has been rapid — far greater than the original five-year period the Defense Department set for its elimination. Olmsted’s work force itself set the pace for obliteration. There were 10,333 civilians at work on Nov. 19. 1964. The cumulative figure for the departure of the civilian work force reached 10,063 on Oct. 31, 1967. Only a skeleton force will be around to complete the final phase-out duties between Jan. 1 and June 30, 1968. So far, the Air Force has retained 23 percent of the 10,333 employees who were on board at the time of phase-out. The Army, Navy and other federal agencies have gained 3,340 workers. Many of these went to area installations at New Cumberland, Mechanicsburg, Letterkenny, Carlisle and Indiantown Gap. Retirements, resignations and employees who declined transfer now number 4,379. The relocation of work functions to gaining air materiel areas in Air Force Logistic Command has moved rapidly in three years. Olmsted workers who followed their jobs elsewhere now number 1,709. An additional 638 have found employment in other Air Force activities. By the end of 1965, jet engines, parachutes and textile and aircraft repair activities were relocated to bases in Georgia, California, Utah and Oklahoma. The second anniversary in 1966 saw total departures reaching 7,647 workers. As the third year of phase-out approaches, there are less than 400 workers on duty at Olmsted. The Middletown Air Materiel Area designation ceased to exist Oct. 8 and phase-out operations will continue under the identity of the 2855th Air Base Group. Oct. 29 marked the second anniversary of the date on which the “severance pay” act became effective. This law provides liberal payoff benefits which have been of immense help to qualified Olmsted employees who declined functional transfer offers and were unable to obtain jobs at other federal agencies. It applies to career and career conditional appointed employees who have been employed continuously for at least 12 months and who have been separated involuntarily for reasons such as declining relocation and reduction-in-force actions. In the two years since enactment of the law, 1,216 former Olmsted workers have qualified for severance pay. The total amount paid has reached an aggregate of $3,879.500.75. The average amount per employee is $3,190.38 and the average weekly benefit is $122.07 over a 26-week period. Of the total of 1,217 recipients, 117 are entitled to payments for 52 weeks, the maximum permitted by the law. Council to call session to consider Pineford purchase A planning session to study all aspects of Pineford Acres was recommended at this week’s Middletown Borough Council session. Borough Manager George Merkel reviewed the latest developments and pointed out that the appraised price for the 50-acre complex must now be updated, but no contract can be awarded by the General Services Administration because the federal agency has no funds at this time. He also told council he will contact GSA’s New York City office this week to determine if the new appraisal delay will have any bearing on the borough’s option period to acquire Pineford. Originally, Dec. 1 had been specified as the deadline date to exercise the borough’s purchase option. The original asking price for Pineford was $360,000 as appraised by a York firm. The borough manager reaffirmed previous reports that acquisition through federal urban renewal and state channels are at a dead end because of low priority and lack of funds. Half of the funding could come from the state level if the Department of Community Development meets budget requirements when Gov. Raymond P. Shafer’s budget and tax problems are resolved. Merkel said both local banks had been contacted and one is interested in financing the development of Pineford. This approach would give the borough absolute control in determining the type of housing and other uses of the area. Solicitor Joseph Nissley said council has the right to exercise this type of financing operation — either through a note if the loan is amortized in five years, or by issuing bonds if the repayment period is longer than five years. Fire destroys 7,000 chickens in Mount Joy Seven thousand chickens were destroyed in a fire last Thursday afternoon at the James Garber Farm, Mount Joy. Damage was extensive, but no exact estimate was available immediately. The alarm sounded at 1:25 p.m. Firemen fought the blaze several hours in the afternoon and then were called back at 8:15 p.m. when the blaze flared up anew. Sparks from a trash fire carried sparks to the roof of the four-story brooder house. The frame and asphalt-tile building burned to the ground. Listed as destroyed, besides the chickens, were 20 brooder stoves, a 10-ton feed bin, four automatic feeders, and 5 tons of broiler feed. The building and the contents were insured. Firemen said the chickens were worth $1.25 a piece. Hot buys • Melman’s in downtown Middletown is going out of business. Arrow and Van Heusen dress shirts, $1.88. Ladies winter car coats, $7.88. Boys and girls shoes, $2.88. • Free Thanksgiving turkey with every RCA Victor color TV purchase at Singer’s TV, Wood and Wilson streets, Middletown. The Clement, 20-inch diagonal TV, $449.95. • Dependable new car trade-ins at Nissley Motors, Middletown. 1960 Rambler 660 wagon, $1,595. 1964 Thunderbird hardtop, $1,995. 1966 Olds Delta, with air conditioning, $3,195. 1966 Valiant wagon, $1,995. Other headlines • Six arrested on charges of gambling • Grandview School named for Governor’s Award • Football Raiders boost point total to 376 by defeating CV, 44-20, for 9th win • Five area people hurt in two accidents • Club presents gift-wrapping demonstration • Girl Scouts to be guests of Bucknell • Police seminar in Hershey