OP-ED: The F-35: U.S. Troops Deserve The Best Weapons

By Stephen Jeffrey

When I joined the military, I committed to protect our nation. 

Today, as a proud veteran of the U.S. Army I urge our two United States Senators Joe Manchin and Jay Rockefeller to honor their promise to the men and women of the military to protect them — by supporting full funding and production of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.Having the best equipment possible makes a real difference—between fully concentrating on the mission, or being concerned about whether you have air cover.

Since the Korean War the U.S. military has not had to worry that we controlled the skies. Failing to provide the F-35 to the troops would make U.S. missions vulnerable — that’s a risk we simply cannot afford.The truth is our troops want the most advanced technology available to keep them safe and make our missions successful.

 The F-35 has buried radars, internally mounted weapons, and hidden sensors that give unprecedented levels of situational awareness and stealth. The enemy won’t know we are coming, and our families can be reassured we have the best equipment that will bring us back home safely.We simply cannot secure today’s peace with yesterday’s weapons. This fifth-generation fighter aircraft is needed to provide cutting-edge technology to troops in the field. The fleet is roughly three decades old, and we need to replace it with better tools for today’s challenges. The F-35 will be a replacement for a number of aircraft across the services.

 As my representatives in Congress, I urge Senators Manchin and Rockefeller to honor the trust the men and women of the military place in you, to provide the best possible equipment and do your best to ensure their safe return home. I urge them to commit to fully funding the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, and honor yours and America’s promise to the military.

Stephen Jeffrey is a veteran who lives in Kenova.

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