Led by Brandywine Peace Community, the protesters–who are trying to stop the installation of a drone command center at the Horsham Air Guard Station–are planning a rush-hour demonstration outside of Corbett's southeast Pennsylvania office.
Organizer Bob Smith, of Brandywine Peace Community, said the locale was chosen because Corbett, as governor, is head of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard.
Smith said peace activists, in addition to broadcasting the sound of drums, whistles, drones and the explosion of missiles the planes carry, would hold signs reading, "YO Guv, Pull the Plug on Drone War Command Center in Horsham."
Besides protesting in Philadelphia, Smith said the monthly demonstrations outside of the Horsham Air Guard Station will continue on the last Saturday of the month at least through year's end, possibly taking a couple months pause, and then resuming in March around the anniversary of the announcement of the command center.
"Remote-controlled killing, generating hatred toward our country is all that the drone command center in Horsham would do and it must be stopped," Smith said. "The drone command center planned in Horsham is part of the overall plan to establish a drone command and training infrastructure network across the country for U.S. drone operations around the world. It's drone war with absolutely no end in sight."
Whether Corbett could overturn the federal government's decision to establish a remotely-piloted aircraft facility in Horsham is not certain.
Master Sgt. Christopher Botzum, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Air National Guard's 111th Fighter Wing, which is based at the 238-acre Horsham Air Guard Station, told Patch previously that, "Our jobs are defined to us by the department of defense.”
Still, Smith is adamant about keeping up the fight. In addition to Friday's demonstration, he said other protests are being discussed for Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz (D-13), Congressman Patrick Meehan (R-7), as well as senators' offices in Philadelphia and Harrisburg.
"There were never to our knowledge any public hearings–county (or) state–on the matter of the drone command center in Horsham, which raises its own questions," Smith said.
The federal government announced that the 111th Fighter Wing was authorized to establish a ground-control station for the MQ-9 Reapers effective Oct. 1.
Col. Howard "Chip" Eissler, commander of the 111th Fighter Wing of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard, said previously that the Oct. 1 date was when the project would begin to be funded rather than when planes would start to be remotely flown. Eissler said it would take two years to train personnel and build facilities.
Construction, estimated to cost between $7 million and $10 million, could begin in November, he said. The drones themselves are expected to cost $53 million per every four aircraft, Eissler has said.The new mission would create "at least" 250 jobs–208 of which would be military positions–including 58 pilots trained by the Air Force and 58 sensor operators, Eissler said previously.
Drone opponents contend that this type of warfare is responsible for the deaths of civilians thousands of miles away.
Military officials have said that drones are aimed at saving lives of American troops. Eissler has said that drone missions, in Afghanistan for instance, require as few as 10 people to be overseas as compared to the traditional deployment of 150 to 200 soldiers.
If you go
Led by Brandywine Peace Community, activists will gather outside the Hyatt at the Bellevue Hotel, Broad and Walnut streets (where Gov. Tom Corbett's Southeast Pennsylvania office is located on the 11th floor) and the median strip in front of the hotel to protest the establishment of a drone command center at the Horsham Air Guard Station. The protest is planned for 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Friday. Click here for more information.