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Jwv Member to Play Leading Role in Construction of Negev Air Bases

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Irving Kett, a Reserves Colonel in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and a member of Jewish War Veterans Post 118 in Los Angeles, will be the No. 2 man in charge of construction of two U.S. financed air bases in the Negev, a billion dollar project that must be completed in little more than two years.

According to Roy Gordon, writing in The Jewish Veteran, organ of the JWV, Kett was selected as assistant project manager of the Near East Project Office of the Army Engineers because of his outstanding credentials and his familiarity with Israel and Knowledge of the Hebrew language.

Kett has a doctorate of science in engineering and is a professor of engineering at California State University, Los Angeles. He was ordered to active duty last June, Gordon reported. From 1967 to 1971 he served as chief design engineer of the division of highways for the Israeli Department of Public Works.

Gordon described the air base project as “in the truest sense, a team effort. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Air Force, the contractors and the Israeli Ministry of Defense one all working together to get a very difficult job done.”

One of the main difficulties will be the race against time. The two air fields, each larger than John F. Kennedy Airport in New York, must be operational by April 25, 1982 under the Camp David agreements. According to the writer, air bases of such size would normally take five years to complete. The two air bases in Sinai that they will replace were nine years in the building.

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