Capital Times – Guest Column – U.S. senators could spearhead removal of F-35s

Capital Times Opinion | U.S. senators could spearhead removal of F-35s
By Diane Michalski Turner | guest column

There are battles and there are wars, and just because one loses a battle does not mean that the war was lost.

Allison Garfield’s article describing the arrival of F-35 fighter jets at Truax Field last April had a title “F-35 opponents lose fight over noise as jets arrive in Madison.”

But let us revisit the F-35s in terms of a health and environmental war envisioned by retired Col. Roseanne Greco.

Greco lives in Burlington, Vermont, where F-35s were deployed in September 2019. She was the former chair of the South Burlington City Council and now is on the board of directors of the South Burlington Land Trust.

Her concern about the F-35s comes from her reading of a 6,000-page Air Force Environmental Impact Study published in March 2012. Greco learned that the F-35 noise’s harm is not merely its volume but its sound vibrations that injure our internal organs. These vibrations are cumulative and the damage is unseen, like the harm from smoking that is not apparent for years.

The damage will include heart problems and increased cholesterol and stress hormone levels.

Noise vibrations impact children more than adults because of the youngsters’ smaller size and can produce “cognitive impairment.” Studies described in the Air Force’s EIS have already shown that children living around merely noisy airports lose their ability to learn well, sometimes for the rest of their lives.

Have the health problems manifested from the F-35s’ noise vibrations? Greco said that such outcomes are not apparent because there has not been enough exposure time and research.

Defense analyst Pierre Spray shares Grecos’ grave worries about the F-35. During a 2020 visit to Madison, he said, “The plane structure burns in addition to the fuel and when that plastic burns it’s incredibly toxic. It is corrosive to lungs. … Its composite materials, which are fibers, carbon fibers, and it’s a very advanced form of epoxy. “

Greco says that the Air Force EIS reports that people died from inhaling particles of F-35 planes burning bodies and coatings. Even when they have not been burnt, the F-35’s coating enters water and soil when the planes are washed and re-coated with these noxious chemicals.

And because our enemies target delivery vehicles of weapons, the F-35s and their runways make Madison a target.

Can we make Madison safer? Greco said that the F-35s should be stationed in active-duty Air Force bases in remote areas.

How does Madison move the F-35s? Greco said there have been multiple times when the military has changed the venue and purpose of their installations because U.S. senators have asked the military to do so. U.S. Senators have this power.

Diane Michalski Turner is an eastside Madison resident.