Mobilize the Guard to fight the coronavirus & stop F-35 flights

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We call on the Governor to halt the F-35 practice flights and mobilize the full Vermont Guard to stop the spread of coronavirus. 

We are long-time opponents of basing F-35 jets at Burlington airport. But, like many Vermonters, we are strong supporters of the men and women in the Guard in their proper role of protecting the people of Vermont. Pursuant to that proper role, we ask you, as Governor and as Commander-in-Chief, to order the Guard to stop flying practice sessions of the F-35 jets and, instead, to fully mobilize to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Regarding the pandemic, we welcomed your March 23 order that Vermont Guard members set up three overflow medical facilities for low acuity patients. We also welcomed the goal of your March 24 Executive Order directing Vermonters to stay at home “to preserve the public health and safety, to ensure the healthcare delivery system is capable of serving all, and to help protect those at the highest risk and vulnerability.”

Your order did not fully mobilize the Vermont Guard to combat the virus: More than a quarter of its 4000 members remain dangerously diverted to maintaining and flying practice sessions of the F-35. We urge you to mobilize all 4000 members to defeat the virus. Among the additional things a fully mobilized Vermont Guard can do are:

1.   Coordination, planning, and logistics.

2.   Acquisition, assembly, and delivery of personal protective equipment and ventilators to hospitals and medical offices in all 14 counties.

3.   Oversee delivery of food, supplies, and protective materials to the elderly, those with medical conditions, and those without cars.

4.   Build decent safe housing for the homeless, such as on the 44 acres of now-vacant land where 200 affordable homes were torn down across from the airport because of fighter jet noise.

5.   Continue setting up overflow medical facilities.

If you focus on actions consistent with your stated goals and mobilize the full Guard in the fight, you might be able to halt the spread of the virus, flattening the exponentially growing curve, avoid overflowing hospitals, and save many lives.

Thank you for considering this. We look forward to your response.