Axed: Fourth of July Fireworks Scrapped at Several U.S. Military Bases

Mike O'Brien
Posted: 07/01/2013

The skies above military bases across the country will not be filled with dazzling pyrotechnic creations this holiday weekend – thanks to sequestration.

Bases large and small have canceled their fireworks displays and Fourth of July celebrations because of lack of money.

Independence Day celebrations have been scrapped at the Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base and at the Army's Fort Bragg, both in North Carolina.

Across-the-board cuts to the tune of $85 billion that began in May meant budgets were tightened and many federal workers were forced to take pay cuts through furloughs.

At Camp Lejeune, last year’s Independence Day at the base cost about $100,000, including $25,000 for the fireworks.

Much of the expenditure goes on overtime to personnel handling security, transportation, logistics and safety.

Base officials decided they could not justify paying overtime when federal workers are losing money through furloughs.

The base’s commanding general, Brig. Gen. Thomas Gorry, said the cancellation would "ensure that we can mitigate the fiscal challenges we are currently facing."

Firework displays at some bases are spectacular affairs so this year thousands of families are left disappointed.

Brandy Rhoad Stowe, whose husband is a master gunnery sergeant with seven combat deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, goes to the Camp Lejeune every year with her children, aged three and nine.

She told the Associated Press: ""It's just a bummer for the kids. It's like the Grinch stealing Christmas.

"I know fireworks might seem silly to other people. But what is the Fourth of July without fireworks?"

At the Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolinathe annual Jammin' July 4th put on by the 20th Fighter Wing along with city and county officials has been scrapped.

The Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii has replaced the evening fireworks celebration with a daytime event featuring the Pacific Fleet Band and the Air Force Band of the Pacific. New Jersey's Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst base has also canceled its traditional celebrations.

Even U.S. military personnel half way across the globe are feeling the pinch.

The U.S. Army garrison in Stuttgart, Germany, has announced its celebration will be an after-work event on July 3 to avoid holiday pay for running the celebration.

Toned-down events will also be held at Naval Station Rota in Spain, along with the Alconbury, Menwith Hill and Croughton air bases in England.

Mike O'Brien
Posted: 07/01/2013