2009-03-12 / Letters to the Editor

Helicopters are the sound of freedom

I can't believe it. I just can't believe it. I can understand an individual who would complain if there was a helicopter landing pad in his neighbor's back yard and if that helicopter was landing and taking off on a daily basis. However, I cannot fathom complaints about helicopters patrolling our coastline.

Does the date 9/11 mean anything? Those helicopters patrolling Mackerel Cove and Beavertail and the rest of the Narragansett Bay are most likely United States Coast Guard helicopters manned by a pilot, navigator and rescue swimmer. Each individual is committed to putting his or her life on the line should the need arise.

Ask the Jamestown Fire Department how many times they have called on these Coast Guard units to help with difficult rescues or body recoveries on the rock shoreline surrounding our island.

We have the Coast Guard, Air National Guard and other reserve units located in this area. The commitment these crews make goes beyond manning the helicopters or C-130s that fly over the area on a continuing basis. Their families also sacrifice so much. Like so many families in the area, I have a son who is a captain in the U.S. Coast Guard. As captain of the cutter Seneca, he has conducted training exercises in the bay, landing helicopters on the deck as they were under way. That same crew, because of their training, was able one night to pick up 167 Cuban immigrants headed to the U.S. and on another occasion working with other federal agencies, busted a major Cuban drug smuggling and illegal immigrant operation netting over $300 million dollars in cocaine.

Rather then complain about those helicopter patrols, the next time they fly over your house go out in your back yard, look up and throw them a salute and thank those men and women for their service.

Regarding the vote of a couple of members on the planning commission voting in favor of something we might disagree with, well, that's democracy in action. Sometimes we agree and sometimes we don't. What we should remember is that these same individuals often vote with things we do agree with. They give a tremendous amount of their time to serve on these boards and we cannot expect them or any members of the various boards to always agree with every resident's opinion. Bill Kelly Member, Jamestown Town Council

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