Friday, June 1, 2012

When good men care, more than likely they tend to be honest and want to reveal a thing gone terribly wrong like when Frank Serpico, the good cop revealed the corruption that he knew about in the N.Y.C. Police Department. Something similar is happening in our military now and it centers around the most sophisticated plane in the world and America owns it.
The greatest weapon in the Air force is the F22 Raptor. It is a sleek stealth fighter jet that the Pentagon reveals that can out gun and out maneuver any combat plane anywhere in the world. Yes, most of our successes in the Middle East is because America has the best weapons in the world so, who is really going to challenge us? But for all its prowess, the Raptor is yet to be used in combat. It was designed to go against an enemy with a sophisticated Air Force which means it sat on the sidelines throughout all the Middle Eastern conflicts in Iran and Afghanistan. They wear sandals. They don’t even have a decent uniform no less a Air force with planes to fight with.
The Raptor has 200 pilots that were left flying mainly training missions. It is the most expensive jet ever to be built and has been plagued by a mysterious flaw that causes its pilots to become disoriented at the controls from a lack of oxygen being pumped into the seating areas. Like Frank Serpico, there have been two pilots, two men dedicated to their profession that will not be silent and will be outspoken about the lies the Air force is telling people about the plane’s safety when it is a great hazard to lives in the craft.
Major Jeremy Gordon and Captain Josh Wilson, believe that the jet is endangering their lives and those of the people in communities they fly over. They are so concerned they have taken the extraordinary step of risking their careers by going public in uniform and without permission to blow the whistle on a plane they love to fly. Serpico loved the police force but he felt a need to expose the corruption because it was the right thing to do. These guys are trying to do the right thing as well.
When you hear about the Raptor, it is always revered as the newest, the fastest, stealthiest, highest flying most gravity defying enemy killing combat machine in the sky. The pilots say simply that it is invincible bottom line. The 200 pilots are highly trained and competitively chosen. They are the elite jet jockeys of the Air force and are with the Virginia Air National Guard based at Langley Air Force Base near Norfolk. Josh has been flying it for 2 years and Jeremy for 6 years. They say what is unique about this craft is that you have the ability to know what is going on around you all the time.
Both men flew combat missions in the Iraq War. Major Gordon was awarded the Air forces highest honor for heroism, the distinguished Flying Cross and in Air Force evaluations he was called flawless. Captain Wilson was called a superb officer with intense warrior spirit. So, then, why won’t the Air force come clean and acknowledge the findings of these great pilots? Can admitting that this monster plane was a mistake even though nothing comes  close to its powers? The fact is, that something is dangerously wrong with the thing.
Josh says that during a routine training mission in February 2011, he suddenly realized that he was loosing control of the Raptor. Several times during the flight it took immense concentration to complete simple tasks. He was so disoriented that he didn’t even remember where the emergency ring was on the plane. The Air force is trying to blame the disorientation on Josh and not on the plane. Symptoms of disorientation has plagued other pilots as well.
After many complaints and symptoms of problems were reported to the Air force, they grounded the entire F22 fleet in May 2011. The Pentagon eventually admitted that there had been 14 of these events in the previous 3 years. This is a  rate described by its own advisory board as “unusually high” and “unacceptable.” The pilots believe that they are being poisoned or just not getting enough oxygen in the craft. Last September the Air force put the plane back in the air even though chief of Staff Schwarts told Congress they still didn’t know what was causing the ailments.
They didn’t find the problem, didn’t fix it, and they sent the pilots up again. The Air force justified the problem by giving the pilots 2 more things to wear that should correct the problem but the pilots continued to get ill. They now feel like the most expensive lab monkeys in a killing machine trying to kill them. Now at 18% the Raptor has the highest negative safety record reported in all the Air force. Both men in an act of defiance told their command that they will stop flying. Like Serpico, they are in deep trouble for doing the right thing; exposing a problem and not going along with their superiors.

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