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Dean Eggermont, Fargo, Published June 01 2012

There is no sound justification for C27s at Fargo’s Hector Field

Craig Whitney’s column of May 24th left out a few critical elements in the push for the C-27 aircraft. While doing an excellent job of relaying the proposed economic benefits of the C-27 program, one could debate if Hector Field needs additional air traffic or firefighting capabilities. Seems to me the current firefighters and air traffic controllers are doing an excellent job. Why place additional personnel in jobs where they are not productive, regardless of who is paying the bill?

Responsible politicians and civic leaders must look beyond the economic impact of this decision. Just because the federal government is footing the C-27 bill doesn’t make it right. Adding more federal debt in programs with questionable utility is the wrong decision for Fargo and the nation.

Let’s talk about utility. A hired lobbyist had suggested the C-27s could be used to transport sandbags to emergency locations across North Dakota. I believe that is in competition with North Dakota contractors who can deliver sandbags onsite anywhere in the state, faster and cheaper than any aircraft.

Considering the scare tactic of troop transport for a terrorist threat, which troops would be transported? Where? The Air Force has this need covered. I do not feel threatened by a hostile force requiring quick mobility of local troops. We already pay billions in homeland security funds and 75 percent of our manned military flying missions are covered by drone aircraft.

Our communities do not need the aircraft noise or pollution caused by countless hours of training Air National Guard members for a mission we do not need.

Do we need the National Guard? You bet we do. As an employer, we need the values conveyed by our military now more than at any time in our history: values like respect for authority, following orders, completing a job, going above and beyond the call of duty and creative problem solving in an efficient manner.

Our national economy is in depression and needless spending makes it worse. Let’s not look only at the economic benefits we may receive locally at a cost to all federal taxpayers. We need a balanced federal budget. We need to provide all working people with dignified employment. Let’s not disgrace our Air Guard by creating a mission that transports air.