Franklin Countys First News

Letter to the Editor: Proposed changes to the Condor 1 & 2 military operations area

You are about to face the most important decision of your life – to allow the military to destroy a pristine wilderness area and your quality of life or come together and fight for your rights, your health and your life style. You are not alone. Citizens in Virginia Beach, VA, Washington County, NC, Valparaiso, FL, and Key West, FL are all opposing the military's destruction of their environment and quality of life.

I am a former resident of Phillips, Maine. My children are products of the local school system and are doing quite well. My wife and I did our best to support our local community throughout the decade of our residency. Our minds and heart still stroll the banks of the Sandy River and wander through the aisles of Phillips Hardware. Little did I know, that you would be facing this military terror that we face daily in our present home - we now live in Key West, Florida.

In 2007, the Naval air facility NAS Key West changed the AICUZ (Air Installation Compatible Use Zone) flyover maps without notice to the communities that surround the facility. They moved the flyover paths away from a wealthy development over to a poorer working class area to satisfy a real estate developer. They also introduced our community and environment to the latest in jet aircraft.

For two and half years we have been asking questions of the Navy and filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for research to counter the Navy's claims of NO SIGNIFICANT IMPACT. Our document requests, specific to the health and environmental damage caused by these monsters, were denied. Recently, our latest document request was attached to a payment request for $10,000 prior to delivering the requested documents. Cash up front or no documents -- Welcome to the United States of America!

Within the past two years, after controlled Navy meetings and finally uncovering numerous, falsified Navy research documents, our community was subjected to textbook, military supported battering on members of our community. You see, here in Key West, we have a large seasonal population of military retirees.

We also are home to many pseudo military organizations that are active in promoting “anything” Navy. Retribution is alive and well and practiced regularly by the Navy, corrupt politicians, employers and misguided neighbors. But the latest slogan has me concerned: “It’s the Sound of Freedom”. It bothers me to hear these words as weapons used against concerned neighbors by the latest generation of military “bullies.”

Wake Up! The military believes that you have no rights because you do not use them.

Enough of that, let's get down to basic facts about what you are about to experience in beautiful Franklin County.

Your present environment will be destroyed.

Most of you can imagine what our environment looks like in Key West. Well here is the reality check -- Caribbean blue water that is so polluted with chemicals that our local beaches are closed almost daily. Petroleum slime from unburned jet fuel covers your vehicles, your homes and vegetation. The largest coral reef in North America is dying a slow death. We are frequently subjected to “Shock and Awe”

flyovers, less than 500 feet above our homes that rattle our minds, pets and bones.

Your hearing and health will deteriorate at an alarming rate.

An unreleased Naval Audit NOISE STUDY, dated 10/ 2008, focused on military jet aircraft and the hazardous noise issue associated with human contact.

The military admitted that they did not investigate the hazardous noise and health effects associated with the flying of high-powered jets over our homes. All previous noise level values are false but were still utilized in numerous military research documents.

The military eliminated any mention or research relating to the debilitating health effects of the jets on the civilian population. Yet the military, continuously supported government documents riddled with unsupportive evidence.

The military's AICUZ Day/ Night assumptions are false for the reason that they are based upon input from noise research that never existed.

All environmental and encroachment documents, referencing the high powered jets and their fly patterns, have been altered to support their environmental and health claims that we now know are false.

This Naval Audit confirms average noise levels created by these jets to be 135 –160 decibels. OSHA considers noise above 84 decibels to be debilitating and a cause of permanent hearing loss.
Since 2005, the military has spent over $700 million dollars on veteran and enlisted personnel loss of hearing claims associated with loud jet aircraft. You would think that they would have at least included us, American citizens, in their hearing loss research and medical funding. But that, I am told, would open the “floodgates” to class action status for their illegal and unethical indiscretions. And according to military protocol, that's unpatriotic.

Your Real Estate Values will plummet.

A July 2007, internal Air Force document confirmed that real estate prices of homes located within the minimum, 65 dB, sound contours of AICUZ boundaries showed a significant negative impact (on resale value) due to the presence of high aircraft noise. Furthermore, a disclosure statement or notice should be included on the deed for the subject property and recorded by the county. It should also be included on any parcel map, tentative map, or final map for the subdivision approval. That’s only the beginning. HUD will not guarantee home loans on properties subjected to high noise levels. Now… who is going to buy your real estate?

The Animals: Wild and Domesticated.

When we first moved here in Key West, we were thrilled to see exotic birds and wildlife. The nesting sites of eagles, herons and egrets were an everyday pleasure. Since the arrival of the Navy’s latest generation of jets, our area is void of indigenous species and seasonal arrivals. The noise is deafening even for them. Our pets suffer incredible pain from the noise and beg for relief. We are not talking about a loud radio but noise that can force mountain fighters to surrender under the “shock and awe” tactical maneuvers that you will experience each and every day.

Of course there is more to this story and I will be glad to support any local effort to oppose such a violation of the US Constitution. And by the way, someone is making lots of bucks on this attempt to force this situation upon you. Come together as a group and check everyone out that is associated with every document supplied by the military. And I mean EVERYONE. Fight, Fight, Fight!

I would like to leave you with this inspiring quote by Thomas Jefferson -- "A True Patriot must always be ready to defend his country against its government."

Wishing You the Best,
Paul S. Caruso
Key West, FL

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7 Responses »

  1. I've read this letter twice, but something has been left out. Maybe it was in some article that I missed? Please, who is planning to do what in Franklin County? Some military organization, you imply; but you forgot to tell us where you got the information, which organization, and just what they are planning to do, where and when. Not to mention where, when and how, we are being given the opportunity to make a decision about whatever-it-is?

  2. Well, they would have a lot less impact then the windmills that are going up and destroying a pristine wilderness area.

  3. Wow. Thanks for all the information, Paul. It's a lot to think about. I certainly haven't heard a compelling argument for allowing the flyovers, and you bring up a lot of causes for serious concern.

  4. Okay, I see that there have been earlier articles that I missed. What still isn't clear to me is, who ultimately makes this decision? What criteria do they have to meet, and who enforces the criteria?

  5. Dear Licia Kuenning:

    Thank you for reading the letters to the editor--Other than the headlines, they are the first thing I read each day. Why? Because they usually are heartfelt and sincere--some sincerely wrong, some sincerely right.

    In the current situation, in a nutshell (and this is difficult to do because our eyes tend to glaze over as we sit reading or listening to the Massachusetts Air National Guard talk about how they plan to proceed.) Basic Facts: The Mass. ANG wants to lower the operational "floor" for the approximately 5,000,000 acres of Western Main known as Condor I and Condor II from 7,000 feet to 500 feet. In addition, they want to add the capability of doing "diving intercepts" and "dog fight" simulations from all points on the compass. Currently they have to fly straight through their "corridors". Their craft, F-15 E jets are exceptionally noisy and are scheduled to be replaced before long with "new generation" jets which are twice as noisy. They have presented No justification for wanting to make this change which was rejected by the Governor of Maine in 1992. I live a mile from Route 5 in Lovell and even we are "treated" to the sounds of our military practicing low level approaches as they head up to Bethel, etc. to "let it all out".

    Check "Western Maine Matters" website if you want more information.

  6. Dear Licia,
    Western Maine Matters has been monitoring this situation since 2007. We protested a sloppy Environmental Assessment (EA) and received support from the Governor and the Congressional Delegation when we insisted on a complete Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

    However, when the EIS was published it was nothing more than a rehashing of the previous inadequate EA.

    The process now awaits another EIS ordered by the Governor.

    For more information about this important issue, please go to

  7. Everyone who reads the letter from Mr. Caruso should forward it to Governor Baldacci, our Senators, and our Representatives. We must not let this happen to us, and with the power of the military it will take enormous effort on our part to prevent it from happening. Once in place it will be impossible to get rid of and the damage will have been done.