Stories from around the country about Navy fighter jet mishaps,
and complaints of military jet training in other area.
FALLON, Nev., Feb 04, 2001 (AP Online via COMTEX) -- A blur of sagebrush, along what's called the loneliest road in America, leads to this small farming and military town that boasts of its simpler way of life. A barber is giving $9 haircuts and there's talk of the annual Hearts O' Gold Cantaloupe Festival.
But soon, the talk turns to the children. To 11 kids, all stricken with leukemia that some fear might have something to do with living in the self-proclaimed "Oasis of Nevada."
For 5-year-old Dustin Gross, it started like the flu. Then came the bruises, and his lips turned translucent.
"You can see it in his eyes," Dustin's father says. "When they really start turning dark."
Acute lymphocytic leukemia is the most common childhood cancer, but still rare.
Just 2,000 new cases are diagnosed annually in the entire United States.
What puzzles people is that 11 of those cases since 1997 have been in and around Fallon, a town of 8,300. Eight cases were diagnosed last year.
This is a cluster, the state health department says. A chance occurrence, perhaps? Or something else that may never be known. The uncertainty has forced the state to ask for help from national experts.
While they look for answers, the residents worry. Mayor Ken Tedford Jr. has lived in Fallon, 60 miles east of Reno, his whole life. His granddaddy was mayor, and his uncle too. "We're just kind of a small town," the mayor says. "People worry about each other a lot."
At the downtown Ideal Barber Shop, which doubles as a motorcycle parts shop, former police officer Lyndell Smiley mentions the water as he talks of the kids
TWO PILOTS INJURED IN HORNET CRASH
Fallon, Nev. -- A Navy fighter jet on a routine air-to-air training mission crashed in the Nevada desert Aug. 24 near Fallon Naval Air Station.
The two-seater, FA-18D Hornet went down near Bravo 20 bombing range about 35 miles northeast of the base.
Both pilots ejected from the aircraft. Lt. Ty Loutzenheiser suffered minor bruises, and instructor pilot Lt. Norman Weakland suffered a fractured vertebra and is expected to make a full recovery, a Navy spokesman said.
The aircraft was assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 125 at Lemoore, Calif., the West Coast fleet replacement squadron that maintains a permanent staff at Fallon.
Source: Navy Times, 01/22/2001, Vol. 50 Issue 16, p3, 1/8p
Abstract: Highlights an investigation into the cause of leukemia in children in Nevada. Responsibility of the Fallon Naval Air Station for the spread of leukemia; Diagnosis of leukemia.
LEUKEMIA CAUSE SOUGHT
Nevada health officials, searching for clues as to what's been causing leukemia in children, are turning their attention to Fallon Naval Air Station, the Las Vegas Sun reported Jan. 9.
Nine cases of the disease were diagnosed between 1996 and last year, 150 times the expected rate.
The Sun story said state officials noted that the Naval Strike Warfare Center joined the Top Gun and Top Dome training activities at Fallonin 1996. The Navy has acknowledged in public hearings that some of the aircraft involved in that training have dumped fuel over vast tracts of rural north-central Nevada.
"We don't feel we have a finger to point at the Navy at this time,"
Todd was quoted in the Sun. "We have not asked for a record review, but clearly we have to be looking at naval activities."
Title: Aviator dies in Nevada F-5E crash. Subject(s): RYON, Richard -- Death & burial; AIRPLANES, Military -- Accidents -- Nevada
Source: Navy Times, 2/19/96, Vol. 45 Issue 20, p2, 1/9p
AVIATOR DIES IN NEVADA F-5E CRASH
WASHINGTON -- The body of a Navy pilot who ejected from an F-5E Tiger jet aircraft before it crashed in Nevada was recovered Feb. 8 by a Navy search-and-rescue crew.
Lt. Cmdr. Richard T. Ryon, 36, of McLean, Va., was assigned to Composite Fighter Squadron 13's advance team in Fallon, Nev., located about 65 miles east of Reno, in anticipation of the squadron's move this spring from Naval Air Station Miramar, Calif.
Ryon's plane crashed into mountainous terrain about 60 miles northeast of Fallon, officials said.
Reports from Fallon said the pilot was participating in a routine training mission. His squadron is taking over the job of imitating enemy aircraft at Fallon from Strike Fighter Squadron 127, which is being decommissioned.
Ryon is survived by his wife and two daughters. The accident is under investigation.
FALLON'S `RIGHT-OF-WAY' IN QUESTION
FALLON, Nev. -- A military watchdog group has criticized the Bureau of Land Management's handling of a Navy request to install four new electronic warfare sites in central Nevada.
Grace Potorti, executive director of the Reno-based Rural Alliance for Military Accountability, said the public suffers from the BLM's decision to process the Navy's request as a right-of-way issue rather than as a proposal to devote more public land to Navy use.
"If the BLM continues to allow the electronic warfare sites outside of Dixie Valley through a right-of-way process instead of ways that have public input and oversight, the public is cut out of the decision," she said.
In February, at the urging of groups like the Sierra Club and People For the West, which have been at odds on other public land issues, the BLM rejected the Navy's plans to withdraw more public land for the warfare sites.
At the time, BLM officials said they were forced to draw a line after years of allowing the Fallon Naval Air Station to take over more public land in Nevada.
But under the latest plan, the BLM would designate 4,000 acres of public land in five locations for the warfare sites.
Another 4.6 million acres could be available to the sites, but 640,000 acres would be closed out of concern for the environment.
"Four sites in 4,000 acres or four sites in 5 million acres is not a very big impact upon the land," Fallon base spokeswoman Anne McMillin said, adding federal law mandates environmental documentation.
The warfare stations simulate enemy surface-to-air missile bases, and are used by Navy pilots during training exercises. With the radar sites would come support structures, such as roads.
BLM State Director Bob Abbey has asked Navy officials to provide a comprehensive plan that addresses the management of all Navy facilities affecting public lands in central Nevada.
"Nevadans should raise their voices and stir up on this," Potorti said. "The public should be included in this decision. It's not over yet."Associated Press
FIGHTER JET STRAFES NEVADA TOWER
FALLON Nev.--Two telephone company workers were narrowly missed by gunfire from a Navy fighter jet Oct. 29 when the pilot accidentally opened fire on the observation tower they were working near.
Anne McMillin, Fallon Naval Air Station spokeswoman, said the pilot may have mistaken the tower for his assigned target during a training exercise.
The tower is located on the Navy's Bravo 20 aviation training range, 35 miles north of Fallon.
The tower was hit by 20 mm bullets. A piece of metal from the structure fell and dented a camper shell on the workers' pickup, but the workers were not injured.
The pilot is an aviation student assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 125, based at Lemoore, in California's Central Valley. His name wasn't released.
Churchill County telephone worker Leonard Travis was working on a phone mounted on a fence that surrounds the tower when the inadvertent attack occurred.
"It happened so fast, we didn't have time to be worried about it,"
Travis said. "Only afterward, you imagine what could have happened. It wasn't important."
His partner, Clark Skinner, said he had no ill feelings against the Navy.
"Nobody was hurt and I don't want to blast the Navy about it. it's no big thing," he said.
But the director of a military watchdog group said the incident reflects a serious problem.
"Civilians are out there doing work and jets are strafing? What kind of controls do they have out there.?" asked Grace Potorti, of the Rural Alliance for Military Accountability.
"This goes along with the sonic booms . . . and the Navy's inability to stay within their operations areas, she said. "They can't control their people and they continue to prove that . . . They hot-dog out there all the time."
President offers prayer for those killed in helicopter collision in Hawaii With US-Helicopter Crash, Japan-Submarine Collision
NORFOLK, Virginia, Feb 13, 2001 (AP WorldStream via COMTEX) -- President
George W. Bush led U.S. service men and women Tuesday in a moment of silent prayer for Army personnel killed and injured in the nighttime crash of two Army Black Hawk helicopters over Hawaii.
"Just this morning, we were reminded of the risks of your duty and the sacrifices that you make," Bush told a gathering of Navy and Defense Department personnel at headquarters for the Allied Command Atlantic, U.S. Joint Forces Command.
Title: Aviator dies in Nevada F-5E crash.
Subject(s): RYON, Richard -- Death & burial; AIRPLANES, Military -- Accidents -- Nevada Source: Navy Times, 2/19/96, Vol. 45 Issue 20, p2, 1/9p Abstract: Reports on the death of Navy pilot Lieutenant Commodore Richard T. Ryon when an F-5E Tiger jet aircraft he was flying crashed in Nevada. Ryon's participation in routine training mission; Investigation of crash in mountainous terrain in Fallon.
For Immediate Release Thursday, January 18, 2001
Training Jet Crash Kills 2 At Patuxent Naval Station; Victims Were Students at Base's Elite Aviation School
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