SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE — The Air Force will name a building at Scott Air Force Base in honor of former Sen. Alan Dixon, who died last week at age 86.
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., who is chairman of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, asked Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James to designate a facility at Scott to honor Dixon's legacy and public service achievements.
Durbin included the provision for the name designation in the Fiscal Year 2015 Defense Appropriations Bill, which was passed by the Subcommittee on Tuesday and is scheduled to be considered by the full Senate Appropriations Committee this week.
The bill does not specify the type of building to be named in honor of Dixon, who during World War II served in the U.S. Navy Air Corps, according to his Wikipedia page.
"Alan J. Dixon was proud to be from downstate," Durbin said. "When he received the difficult assignment of chairing the 1995 Defense Base Realignment and Closure Commission, he served with honor, and received high praise for his fair treatment of military communities across the country. His work to make sure Scott Air Force Base was given a critical mission in our nation's defense has resulted in Scott becoming one of our nation's premier Air Force assets."
Dixon's funeral was held Monday in Belleville, where Durbin was one of the keynote speakers.
Dixon, a Belleville native known for his glad-handing style and ready smile, earning him the nickname "Al the Pal," served in the U.S. Senate from 1981-93. He rose to the rank of the Senate caucus' deputy whip, or No. 3 leadership position.
But it's widely thought that Dixon's 1991 vote to send Judge Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court, despite sexual harassment accusations against Thomas, contributed to his loss in the 1992 Democratic Senate primary to Carol Moseley Braun, who became the first black woman elected to the U.S. Senate.