FROM JOSHUA ROONEY – SOUTH BURLINGTON
I have to say, I have grown weary of being on the other end of the “that jet noise is the sound of freedom” argument every time I express my concern over the basing of the F-35 here in Burlington.
It is not the sound of freedom. Freedom is a concept, an intellectual construct, and it has no sound. Saying that it is the sound of freedom is a way to make dissenters like myself look unpatriotic and as if we do not care about those who choose to serve in our armed forces. I love the United States and I have the highest respect for those who choose to put themselves on the firing line. I also don’t want the F-35 roaring over my community with any regularity.
The F-35 is louder than the F-16. The Air Force does not dispute this fact. This is from an article on VT Digger:
“The Green Ribbons postcards [in favor of basing the F-35 here] state that the F-35 will create noise levels similar to the current F-16, that there will be 2,613 fewer operations per year, and there will be no health effects on citizens.
The Air Force responded that while this comment will be noted in the decision-making process, the content is proven false by the EIS. The Air Force’s response states that the F-35s are projected to create more noise than the F-16s, and that there would be fewer operations only if 18 F-35 jets were based in Burlington.”
Anyone who says that the F-16’s don’t fly everyday, or thinks that it’s only noisy for 6 minutes a day clearly doesn’t spend enough time in the flight paths of these jets. I work in Williston, directly in flight path of the F-16 squadrons when they take-off and land. It is consistent; at least two jets, usually four, spaced about 30 seconds apart, and it happens about three or four times a day, during the work week. The sound is totally overwhelming. If you are having a conversation, even inside, you have to stop and wait until the jets are far enough way. It is frustrating and intrusive. Each squadron, coming and going, eats up about 5 minutes per take-off or landing. That is my experience.
The idea that this noise would get louder is hard to imagine. My co-worker jokes when the F-16’s go overhead, that “these are the quiet ones.” Sure, we also hear the commercial air traffic going overhead; however, the noise and disruption of the non-military aircraft produces is nowhere near that of the fighter jets. It’s comparable to the noise of being near a busy roadway.
So, let me say this: Stop with the sound of freedom nonsense. I support our troops. My father is an Air Force veteran. This is not about the quality of the job they do or making sure they have the best equipment. To imply that I don’t support our service men and women is inaccurate and mean spirited. This is about quality of life and whether or not this particular jet belongs in the heart of Vermont’s most populated and prosperous county. This is a highly populated area. It’s too loud for this area and has too unproven a safety record for this area. This jet does not have to be based here. It can be deployed in an area that is not as densely populated as Chittenden County.
There are other ways to support our troops and the VTANG without bringing in the F-35.
If we must assign a sound to freedom, I would like to see more sounds on the list than only those generated by combat vehicles.