Your Commissioner for Grass Roots Democracy
Those of us who moved to Ouray County, as I did 31 years ago, chose this place because it was quiet and remote. I am not interested in being in an aircraft test area, or I would have moved next to DIA in Denver. Do I want to hear aircraft engines 1 to 3 times a night? Do I want tourists visiting Ouray to be disturbed by low-flying aircraft? Emphatically NO! What are the chances that an aircraft could crash on one of the peaks surrounding Ouray and impact the town? How about aircraft flying low over Log Hill? It is likely that an accident would start a forest fire and that is pretty scary in this area. Lots of questions need to be answered, and unfortunately I don't trust the Air Force to be honest. Anyone who served during Viet Nam or later probably will agree with me on that point. I think the County should just oppose this idea.
I suspect the LATN area training program is a scheme to bring increased operations and funding to the AFSOC Wing, the 27 SOW, at Cannon AFB, New Mexico. Otherwise, the Colorado Plateau and the San Juan Mountains are unlike any terrain anywhere U.S. Air Force operations are likely to occur. Familiarity with conditions typical of the LATN terrain would be poor preparation for "current real world taskings." A much better simulation of Afghan and middle eastern terrain (including Iran) is provided by the huge expanse of Nevada incorporated in the Nevada Test and Training Range (Nellis Bombing and Gunnery Range), and the (former) Nevada Test Site. I state this confidently because I made several 1:250,000-scale geologic maps of Afghanistan for the Afghan government, and I have worked at the Nevada Test Site.Simulated combat/support flight training occasionally results in planes slamming into mountains. Such an occurrence in the San Juans would create havoc, possibly destroying lives and structures and likely resulting in a forest fire. The Nevada Test Range is used constantly for military flight training and is off limits to civilians. I think this, too, is a good reason to move the 27 SOW from Cannon AFB to Nevada. I will send these comments to Sen. Harry Reid and propose that LATN should be replaced by terrain excercises based at the Creech AFB (Formerly Indian Springs AFB) located about 50 miles west of Las Vegas. I would think that citizens of Las Vegas would welcome an influx of defence funding and contract opportunities, especially after the demise of the Yucca Mountain Project. I think Sen. Reid would also welcome this opportunity to help both Colorado and Nevada. And the Air force would have ready access to a much more appropriate training environment than southern Colorado.
Thank you all for leaving comments. I have dedicated a page (LATN link from the Blog Header) that has my notes from the October 18 meeting in Montrose. Warmest Regards, Lynn