For All to See

Chris Hughes, a resident of Okaloosa County, Fla., which includes Eglin Air Force Base, wants to get the pro F-35 message out in a big way, literally. The Destin Log reported March 4 that Hughes has purchased a 10’6” x 22’8” billboard near the east gate of Eglin in the city of Valparaiso on which he intends to post the signatures of local residents who support the Air Force’s recent decision to base F-35s there as part of the initial training schoolhouse for the stealth fighter. He is scheduled to bring the billboard on a truck to a local event today to allow residents to sign it and have their voices heard—and seen. “It is time to for you and me, the taxpayers of Okaloosa County, to let the world know that the F-35’s home needs to be right here at Eglin Air Force Base,” he said. The basing decision has not been without controversy as the Valparaiso city leadership, citing concerns over the noise levels of the new fighter, voted last month to sue the Air Force in federal court. That lawsuit must be filed by April 5. This has prompted some residents to come forward at the grass roots level to show their support for the F-35 mission and stop the lawsuit.