Pain, injury, distress, & suffering: first week of Nighttime F-35 Flights

The State of Vermont is recklessly inflicting violence on its own citizens

Pain, injury, fright, distress, trauma, suffering, hearing loss, ringing ears, intense vibration in the body, blocked speech, confinement, hurt children, shaking homes, reduced business revenue, and frightened pets were some of the effects revealed in the first 147 responses to the new online F-35 Spring-Summer 2021 Report and Complaint Form. The full results can be seen here.

This detailed online survey opened on the same day last week that the night-time F-35 training flights began. The results from the first week of the three weeks of night-time F-35 flights are consistent with the results of three previous online Report and Complaint Forms that together included over 1000 responses. The results of these surveys complement a September 27, 2020 report on VTDigger, “Panic attacks. Ringing ears. Shaking walls. Happy 1-year anniversary to the F-35s.”

The online F-35 Spring-Summer 2021 Report and Complaint Form includes 20 check box questions that can all be answered in 5 minutes. It also includes the option to record in-your-own-words statements to 13 of those questions. To submit your complaint, click https://tinyurl.com/4zjjn39x

Jet Line: Voicemails from the Flight Path

In a brilliant effort to reveal the thoughts of ordinary Vermonters, “a story not being told,” two Vermont film-makers produced a film, “Jet Line: Voicemails from the Flight Path,” that premiers online on Thursday, April 15 at 7 pm. Reviewed in Seven Days, the film showcases the experience of Vermonters with the F-35 training flights in the Burlington area. To register for the premier, a free showing, click here.

The violence is illegitimate

The violence the state of Vermont commits against its own citizens lacks legitimacy: The F-35 training flights in a densely populated area blatantly violate the military’s own regulations, US and Vermont laws, US and Vermont constitutional rights, US ratified treaties, and international law. They also put the state of Vermont at odds with the US constitutional requirement that states must conduct their state national guard training “according to the discipline prescribed by Congress.”

That Congressionally-prescribed discipline protects civilians from military operations. The discipline includes the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), the US War Crimes Act [18 U.S. Code § 2441], and Senate-ratified international treaties, including the 1907 Hague Convention IV, the 1949 4th Geneva Convention, and the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

In addition, the F-35 training flights amidst densely populated city neighborhoods puts the Vermont National Guard in violation of Department of Defense and US Air Force Directives, Instructions, Policies, and Doctrine. Vermont Guard compliance with those regulations is mandatory under Vermont law (20 VSA 361 and 362).

A 62-page complaint submitted to the Inspector General of the Vermont National Guard on October 22, 2020 by 657 Vermonters describes how each of the fundamental principles and rules presented in Department of Defense Directive 2311.01 is violated by training with F-35 jets in a densely populated area: “military necessity, humanity, distinction, proportionality, and honor.”

The complaint to the Inspector General also shows how the F-35 jets are being used in a manner for which they were not designed, in violation of US Air Force targeting doctrine, which “prohibits using an otherwise lawful weapon in a manner that causes unnecessary suffering.” The Air Force targeting doctrine emphasizes, “the bottom line is to use the weapon/munitions as they are designed.”

The Air Force EIS states that the F-35 was designed for supersonic speed, stealth, and attack. The “engine is capable of supplying approximately 40,000 pounds of thrust and speed up to 1.5 Mach.” (p. 1-5).  The Air Force EIS does not give any indication that the F-35 was designed for taking off and landing in a city full of children hundreds of times a month. The ultra-high thrust and ultra-high decibel F-35 was not designed for city life.

The facts showing widespread pain, injury, distress, and suffering from F-35 training flights in the most densely populated part of Vermont are emerging. The public is increasingly aware that the F-35 training flights in such a densely populated area are illegal, and they violate even the military’s own rules. Town meeting votes in Burlington and Winooski showed large majorities calling for cancellation and termination of the F-35 practice flights in a city. Failing both democracy and rule of law, the violence the State of Vermont inflicts with its F-35 training flights must stop now. And those responsible must be prosecuted and incarcerated, as no one is above the law.