Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's announcement that the F-35 would be removed from a probationary status should be a slight glimmer of hope for our economy here in the Lowcountry.
With hundreds of millions of dollars directed to expanding Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort over the next five years, it will give a boost the construction industry really needs.
Following the air base expansion, more construction will surely follow to make way for the added personnel. Housing, utilities and roads are sure to increase, and the added Marines will enable to the economy to prosper year-round.
We should applaud Panetta for keeping the Marine variant of the F-35 alive, and we should support Sens. Jim DeMint and Lindsey Graham in their fight to stop the delays that plague the F-35 program.