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xtra xtra!
October 21,2011
MIT Flying Club

                On September 27, I attended an event hosted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Flying Club.  The event provided students and the broader Boston community an opportunity to experience the technology and prowess of America’s 5th Generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.  During the student presentation, the room was filled with energy and optimism, a refreshing change to the daily drumbeat of economic woes of American manufacturing and talk of a lost generation.  My takeaway is that the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter represents the future not only of our national security, but our economic security through its contributions to our manufacturing and technology industries.

                As a combat veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, I have seen first-hand the horrific nature of armed conflict.  While America’s brave armed service members boast some of the best weapons in the world, much of the technology is becoming antiquated.  The F-35 event at MIT provided a chance to see what these new fighters can do to support our troops and, ultimately, win conflict.  The situational awareness of the F-35 is straight out of a science-fiction movie.  The F-35 simultaneously tracks air and ground targets and disseminates between hostile and friendly objects; enabling the pilot to focus on their primary objective. The F-35 is a game-changer for the United States, and the crowd at the MIT event knew they were experiencing a revolutionary moment.   

                Just as MIT provokes thoughts from its students, this caused me to think, what is Congress doing?  No one questions there are serious budget problems, but this program is not a driver of those problems.  The F-35 supports 95 Massachusetts-based suppliers, providing over 3,000 jobs.  The F-35 not only produces these jobs, it also drives $136 million in economic activity for Massachusetts.  This program is a win for the Bay State. Nationally, the F-35 program relies on over 1,300 vendors and suppliers across the nation, directly and indirectly, creating over 127,000 reliable, good paying, hi-tech Americans jobs.  

                It is important to recognize that this is not a jobs program; the F-35 creates positive economic impact because America needs it to provide the support and 5th generation technology to our troops. Most importantly, The F-35 plane will support the efforts of the Navy and Marines, replacing an aging F-18 airframe that has seen its capabilities max-out.  It will also replace the Air Force’s inefficient, Cold War era F-16 fighter with advanced stealth and cutting-edge technology.  This is a plane that American citizens owe their troops.  

                MIT is a microcosm of every university in the United States—students who want to be inspired and American manufacturing and ingenuity that deliver that inspiration.  The F-35 is the real deal.  After learning more at the MIT event, I am confident that  America will continue to lead the world with the greatest thinkers and inventors; despite what you might read in the news.

Dan Magoon, Executive Director
SGT , US Army, Combat Veteran (Iraq and Afghanistan) and
Vice Commander Boston Fireman's Post #94, American Legion

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