New commissary, museum don't belong side-by-side
January 20, 2010 01:00 AM | 3750 views | 5 5 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
DEAR EDITOR: Re: article, "Military commissary proposed for South Cobb Drive" Tuesday's MDJ

I have no doubt that your reporting on Cobb Commission Chairman Sam Olens vision regarding inclusion of the military commissary at Dobbins Air Reserve Base is accurate. However, the description of what a commissary is and how it is funded was in error.

Most importantly, the commissaries are certainly NOT subsidized by the federal government and have not been for more than 35 years. All military commissaries at every base in every country are 100 percent operated without any congressionally authorized or appropriated taxpayer funds.

Commissaries are open to all active duty and retired military members and their "immediate families" only; Reserve members when on active duty only; and selected National Guard members when holding positions similar to active duty assignments.

Commissaries do not charge "taxes" as we know them (like sales tax) but they charge each member a fee. That fee is what runs the commissary services.

Note that commissaries accept Food Stamps and have for some time relevant to the fact that many active-duty members qualify for food stamps due to their low pay. And they still go to Iraq and Afghanistan.

The military commissary system is operated by the Department of Defense as an agency separate from Air Force, Army, and Navy/Marines. The new Dobbins commissary proposal began planning stages after BRAC 05 selected Forts Gillem and McPherson to close in order to support the large military retired community in the Atlanta area.

Even though not supported by federal funding, congressional oversight committees review annual plans and lend approvals to construction programs. The siting and dimensions of the commissary will be determined by the commissary service in coordination with the Dobbins ARB base engineer and wing commander.

Because the Dobbins Exchange is not a modern facility and it is not sized for the inclusion of Gillem and McPherson military communities, and since modern shopping center master planning suggests savings through consolidated parking and utilities, the new commissary and potentially new exchange will most probably be located in a common central location on the base. Since the museums are open to the public and the commissary and exchange are restricted - and also for security reasons - their location in conjunction with the museums is inadvisable, less secure and most likely unattainable.

The city, county, and Marietta Museum of History/Aviation Museum are just too far behind the power curve in planning and way behind the upfront funding need.

Col. Jack Gillis
USAF (retired)
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That Guy
March 31, 2011
Sorry to say Col. Jack Gillis is wrong in how DECA is funded. They do rec. some tax payer money in that the employees other then beggars and the few vendors who are their are GS employees and as such are tax payer paid. It is AAFES or as most of us old timers call it BX/PX that is not funded by tax payer $$$$$. They get money from operating funds that they earn through what they sale. I do not care what part of the base the build the new Commissary as long as they build it and build it soon. So many have served this nation in many wars and this is at least one of the things our Nation can do for them in their retirement years. Many new Vets will join our numbers soon, they have fought in our latest wars lets make this happen and happen NOW.

SMSgt Carter, Ret
January 27, 2011
Today we saw a sign about the commissaries at Ft Gillem and McPherson closing in May and the employees losing their jobs. Anyone know if or when we'll have a new Atlanta area commissary at Dobbins. Looks like the military, active, reserve abd retirees get screwed again.
September 29, 2010
It seems some of you got one part right and the other got the other part right, but since non got it all right. Just for a starter Guard and Reserve forces can shop the commissary 365 days a year not only on drill dates. I will let you guys guess the rest of what was wrong with what was said.
MSgt Jones
January 21, 2010
The Cobb County Commission WILL NOT be making the decision about a New Commissary. That will be made by the Department of Defense and Dobbins AFB. It's funny that Cobb County thinks that everything concerns them. This is a "private commissary" NOT open to the public and all decided by the DOD. Putting a commissary outside

the base is not going to happen. A commissary is not an after thought, something to stick into a piece of land that dosen't even belong to the Air Force. The article written by MDJ about Cobb County making all those plans was so far in la-la

land it is comical. MDJ hasn't a clue,Cobb County and who ever feed this story to them is even more clueless about the military.
mk-beautify 1st!!
January 20, 2010
A commisary might be a need for the military & families on the Dobbins base, but IN the base, NOT @ the intersection of South Cobb & Atlanta Road ! That would too much define never changing the direction that is so needed in this part of Cobb, if this area is ever to be saved!!!

I have lived in Smyrna 10 years & watched this deteriorared strip along Atlanta Road too long simply be ignored.

It is time for a coalition to be formed to include Smyrna, Marietta, Cobb County, Dobbins, Lockheed ,the new National Guard Headquarters & even the two schools nearby (Southern Poly & Chattahoochie Tech) put some thought & effort into streetscaping the Atlanta Road Corridor. The cement sidewalk that runs along the chainlink fence is unattractive & unused & there is nothing asthetically pleasing about driving past air-strips, cement factory buildings & barraks.

The Atlanta Road Corridor (if revitilized) could attract a hip young progressive crowd to open businesses along that commercial area. There is an active student population in this area that needs to be tapped into. Think of how magnificent of a trail the students could design there,(including art & sculpture).. if only there was some support! It's time to encourage a connection between the city of Smyrna & Marietta. The only difference between this area & the AWESOME & VIBRANT Dekalb Ave. (off Moreland)- that has become such a resturant, shopping & loft/apartment destination is the WILL & the HEARTBEAT of city & community leaders. Is there any WILL out here??
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