To the Editor:
Re: Study links warming to some 2012 wild weather, 9/6
As we seek to better prepare for natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy, we must also address cuts to our National Guard, “including mandatory sequestration furloughs” that weaken their ability to respond with aid.
For example, the Air Force has canceled a critical upgrade for Air National Guard C-130s.
These workhorse cargo aircraft perform critical relief missions after hurricanes, dropping water, food and supplies and even evacuating the injured.
But new FAA digital aviation requirements will force these aircraft to retire, due to their outdated equipment designed in the 1960s.
For example, Guard members have to physically cover monitors inside the cabins of C-130s with filters and tape over lights and switches (to block out light that makes the use of night vision goggles impossible) in order to fly in formation after dark. Imagine if you had to cover up the speedometer and dashboard clock every time you wanted to drive at night.
Taxpayers have already invested $2 billion in preparation for modernizing these planes, which can serve for many more years with modest upgrades. But the Pentagon canceled the program because of tight budgets.
Cutting disaster relief tools like the C-130 is the wrong way to balance the budget. Congress should reverse these cuts to our National Guard.
Retired U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Melvyn Montano