As an "interested observer" of military aviation, I beg to differ with your Jan. 9 editorial, "Justify Harrier or Drop It," on the AV-8 Harrier jet. You completely overlook the successful use of the aircraft by the Marines in Desert Storm, the very successful use of its British counterpart, the Sea Harrier, in the Falklands and successes in routine operations by the Marines, the British navy and RAF, as well as the other foreign operators, Spain and Italy.
Short-takeoff and vertical-landing technology needed time to mature. Your editorial does a disservice to those who flew the Harrier in combat, including those who died in their planes.
As for your remarks on the Navy and Air Force providing cover to Marines, the Marines simply do not trust other services to "kill things that kill Marines."
The Air Force controlled Marine air in Korea and Vietnam, and the Marines have vowed not to let that happen again.