​F-35 jet opponents not backing down, hold protest in Madison

F-35 jet opponents not backing down, hold protest in Madison

Rhonda Foxx Oct 17, 2021

MADISON (WKOW) — People opposed to the F-35 jets coming to Madison made their voices heard Sunday afternoon, even though it’s a done deal.

Several environmental and religious groups rallied at the State Capitol and then caravanned to Demetral Park to let legislators know they don’t want F-35 jets in Madison.

Brian Benford, District 6 Alderperson said, “In this city, we do not want these horrendous weapons.”

Vicki Berenson, opposes the F-35 jets in Madison and said, “We can try to get rid of them. You know, it’s not safe for our community.”

Last April, Wisconsin’s Air National Guard decided the 115 Fighter Wing at Truax Field would house the fighter jets.

Col. Erik Peterson, 115th Fighter Wing Commander said, “I’m excited to announce that the Secretary of the Airforce selected the 115th Fighter Wing to be the United State’s Airforce’s 5th Operation Wing to operate the F-35A Lighting Two Aircraft. This selection is an honor.”

But opponents say they’re not backing off.

Tim Cordon, an event organizer said, “We’re going to have to build more resistance, more protests.”

Demonstrators say they’ll continue to oppose these jets because they’re loud and could be potential environmental hazards.

Cordon said, “I’ve been told they’ll be an average of 14 flights taking off per day, on an average day, they’ll make a ton of noise. The other thing is that there’s pollution spewing from these planes as they’re flying.”

Supporters say placing the fighter jets at Truax Field will create more jobs and have a huge economic impact in the city.

The Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce is among the supporters of the F-35s coming to town.

It released a statement that reads in part “we need jobs more than ever. We need economic investment more than ever.”

Benford questioned, “Is that false economic promise. Is that more important than human lives? Our neighbors lives here in the city of Madison? I would say absolutely not.

The first F-35s are expected to arrive at Truax Field next year, in April.