Air Force Responds to Concerns Over Proposed Missile Test Site

There are just five days now before the issue appears on the Nov. 2 ballot as a “straw vote” referendum. Hundreds of Taylor County residents are showing their support for a missile testing range at rally in Perry Thursday afternoon.

But for as many in favor of the site, there are those who oppose it.

"I respect their opinion about the whole thing, but they are putting out some things that are not true and our effort is to try to get the truth out to people,” explains supporter Edward Sheffield.

"This shouldn't really be on the ballot; it's a land use issue. A private property owner corporation is trying to sell the land to another person. Land use issues aren't decided by referendum ballots,” supporter Debbie Mason says.

Some who oppose the site feel they've been criticized for not being patriotic.

"We hear everyday that the military needs us, and we want to be supportive and we love Taylor County and we love America, so when some suggest we are not red, white and blue, we come out and say we are red, white and blue,” comments Janice Jackson.

Retired Colonel John Manclark is director of all Air Force testing operations. He made a special trip to Perry to answer concerns Taylor County residents have had on both sides.

"Actually, I don't think we've done a good job in getting out the right answers in what we are doing. You can see from the audience today, there is confusion in what we are doing,” shares COL Manclark.

Manclark says an official decision has not been made and that other than Taylor County, other possible sites locations include Utah, Mexico and Nevada.

The Air Force plans to release a study in the next nine months, detailing exactly for what the proposed site would be used.