For a state of fewer than five million people, my home of South Carolina’s got a Hell of a lot of combat power, and we like it that way. There’s the Army’s largest training post, a National Guard mechanized brigade and lots of Army odds and ends, a smattering of Navy and Coast Guard forces plus AH-64 Apache gunships, dozens of Marine Corps F/A-18s and the Air Force’s largest F-16 wing, pictured, bedded down at Shaw Air Force Base outside Sumter. Driving down the highway towards the coast, sometimes you’ll see the F-16 Block 50s — the youngest in the Air Force — pulling loops directly over the road. It’s enough to (almost) make you love the Air Force.
Now Shaw is on the list to get new F-35s to replace those F-16s, beginning in 2017. This according to a news roundup from Air Force Magazine:
The [Sumter] Item, citing Charlie Savage, a regional manager for F-35 maker Lockheed Martin, also said a noise analysis of basing the F-35s at Shaw will be issued in March. The Air Force has acknowledged that the noise level associated with the F-35 “is significant.” This has already prompted concern among some residents near Eglin AFB, Fla., which is supposed to serve as the joint F-35 schoolhouse.
Let me make one humble prediction. Noise won’t matter a damn when it comes time to deploy F-35s to South Carolina. We don’t mind the roar of jet engines, as long as those engines are attached to airplanes that bomb Communists, liberals, atheists, Yankees and others enemies of The American Way of Life. The sign attached to the Marines’ F/A-18 base in Beaufort, on the coast, sums up our sentiment perfectly:
“That noise you hear is the sound of freedom.”