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Letter: Slap in the face to service members

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By Jose J. Marquez

I have put my life on the line for New Mexico and the United States for 22 years, and I know the sacrifices our men and women in the armed forces willingly give for all U.S. citizens. I feel it is a slap in the face to all these men and women for the mayor and council of Las Vegas to propose a resolution opposing the Cannon (Air Force Base) plan. The safety of the flight crews depends on the training they get and the terrain in northern New Mexico is what they need and, yes, there are risks. Mostly to the flight crews but they are used to that.

First let’s get the facts straight.

1. They will not be flying low over cities, airports or wilderness, so Las Vegas has nothing to worry about. We do have millions of people flying over us daily in other aircraft.

2. There will be no chemicals dropped as stated in the paper.

3. Exhaust gases will be expelled from each engine but not four per engine as stated in the Optic. It won’t be anything near the fumes produced by all the cars on Seventh Street.

4. These are not experimental aircraft. The C-130 has been the workhorse of all the services for about 50 years and has saved more lives over the years than probably any other aircraft. It has probably saved mine. The Osprey had its crashes during its introduction but has been certified since and is now saving lives.

The chances of winning the lottery or being struck by lightening are better then seeing one of these aircraft flying low over Las Vegas. I live on Kathryn Drive, and I have a life flight helicopter pass a couple of hundred feet over my house several times a day. The probability of a crash of one of these flights near my house is infinitely greater than the proposed military flights. Should we ask for a resolution to stop these flights? I would hope not. That is as silly as the resolution the city proposes.

That the city would oppose the best training possible for our men and women in the flight crews, while causing a miniscule risk to northern New Mexico, is deplorable. They take the risk for us without question. Las Vegas should be ashamed. I propose the mayor and council ask our Congress to move all military facilities from New Mexico and move them to another state that cares.

To the city of Taos. I hope you enjoy the tourists when the first low-level military flights over northern New Mexico are from another country.

Jose J. Marquez, CEC USN Ret.

Las Vegas