I have returned to Merced after 24 years to spend my final years with my family and loved ones. I was at Castle Air Force Base for 10 years and walked the old base over the weekend; the memories came flooding back, to say the least. I was aware of the closure, of course, but I am astounded by what in my opinion has not happened. That being the replacement of businesses, industry, and job-related venues that were promised to this community before the closure. Oh, there are a few, and there is also a prison that probably holds more people from the Merced and Atwater area then it employs.
Our nation is gradually deploying our forces toward the West. This is where the threat lies now. Castle could be a major hub in this transition and the effects on the good people of this valley would be astounding.
Bring back the base and you bring back the valley.