I do not profess to be a military aircraft weapons expert but can offer a plausible explanation to those interested, concerned, disconcerted or annoyed by the aircraft circling Santa Fe. Decades ago (i.e., Vietnam era), the Air Force and other branches of the military realized the need for an aircraft that could provide close air support to protect our ground troops. The C-130 Hercules cargo plane was repurposed by arming it with a variety of side-firing ground attack weapons ranging from Gatling guns to howitzers. The result is the AC-130 gunship.
Sophisticated navigation equipment offered pinpoint firing accuracy while circling the targeted area below for hours. Riding a merry-go-round or carousel offers a simple analogy: While sitting on your favorite horse (AC-130), things are moving around on the outside, but the very center of the merry-go-round (target) is stationary. Perhaps the Air Force is using Santa Fe to refine this technique and to train its air crew. It is ironic to visualize the New Mexico Capitol as a round practice bull’s-eye from high above. This is not super-secret, Area 51 or conspiracy theory stuff. A Google or Wikipedia search will provide the details. The TV documentary series Air Warriors offers an insightful history on this aircraft as well.
Pick it up
I grew up in the Pecos River Valley. Ever since I can remember, there has been a litter problem here. I don’t like seeing it, and I condemn those who do it. In the past, I would see it, think it’s terrible and make myself feel better about leaving it by thinking, “I didn’t leave it there.” But I would walk away with the feeling, “I have to do something.”
As time passed, more trash accumulated. I thought, “How can I stop people from ruining this beautiful land with trash?” I thought of how many innocent animals have been injured or killed by the broken glass and sharp metal cans. Some of this trash is decades old. There must be something I can do. And there is. I can take it out and remove what others have left.
Now, as I walk my dogs every day, I carry a small, manageable bag. Every walk, I remove one small bag of trash from the environment. After a short time, I can remove hundreds of pounds of waste that hadn’t been properly dealt with, and most of what I collect is recyclable. Now when I see trash, I pick it up. If you are someone who cares, please remember this: If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.
No big deal
What is the big deal about UFOs? We have sent people and robots to other planets. If a UFO lands in this country, Immigration and Customs Enforcement can deport the occupants back to the planet they came from because former President Donald Trump and his followers don’t want illegal aliens in this country.
A more positive view
Recently I attended the U.S. Department of Agriculture announcement regarding debt forgiveness to farmers and ranchers in Velarde. Your story (“For farmers of color, ‘one chance in a lifetime,’ ” June 3) highlighted systemic racism committed by the agency against people of color. What your story failed to mention are the many positive things these programs have done for subsistence farmers and ranchers like myself. I spoke to the huge transformation my place has undergone from loans I have received under the USDA farm loan program. These loans are a lifeline to farmers and ranchers of all colors and backgrounds. The story also failed to mention the positive comments I made about the agency’s loan officers — more specifically, Allen McCrain, Rick Lopez and Clinton Warrick, all of whom have been extremely helpful with my loan assistance applications. I believe your story needed balance.
Rio Arriba County