By: Diana Stacy Correll for Millitary Times, Sept. 12, 2019
Two retired Air Force officers were arrested this week after a sit-in protest at Sen. Patrick Leahy’s office in Burlington, Vermont. The pair demanded a delay in the arrival of F-35 fighter jets at the Vermont Air National Guard base at Burlington International Airport, according to local media reports.
The Vermont Air Guard is poised to accept its first F-35 jet later this month.
Retired Col. Rosanne Greco and retired Lt. Col. Roger Bourassa were armed with a list of demands they want Leahy to approve as they headed into his office an hour before closing Monday, NBC 5 reports.
They want Leahy to intervene to postpone the F-35′s arrival until the jet has booked at least 1 million hours of flight time and until funding is secured to purchase 3,000 homes that Federal Aviation Administration noise maps have identified as in the “unsuitable for residential use zone.” The F-35s are louder than the F-16s that the Vermont Guard has been flying.
They are also pushing for an investigation into the F-35 basing process and for the Pentagon to issue additional information regarding the F-35′s nuclear role, according to Vermont Digger, an investigative news outlet focused on Vermont. They have requested public hearings on the matter.
“Senator Leahy, in spite of ‘overwhelming evidence’ that led the Air Force to conclude that Burlington was the wrong place to base the F-35, exerted so much pressure on the Air Force leadership that they ignored the facts, over-ruled their experts, and chose Burlington,” according to Greco and Bourassa’s document of requests, Vermont Digger reports.
Greco’s opposition also stems from her belief that the “weapons of mass destruction” will harm neighboring residential areas, the Digger reported.
Greco served in the Air Force from 1973 to 2003 as an intelligence officer, according to Air Force Personnel Center records. Her last duty station was Fort Meade in Maryland. The Air Force also said she earned multiple awards, including the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, among others.