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January 16, 2019

12/12/2018 12:12:00 PM
Jets are "sound of freedom"

I am tired of hearing the recurring complaints re NASWI (Naval Air Station Whidbey Island) “jet noise” from a small but highly vocal band of NIMBYs, and their unrealistic “solutions” to a “problem” that does not exist. Unless they were here prior to 1942 when the Naval Air Station first became operational, their complaints have absolutely no validity. The Air Station’s primary mission is not about to change, and the operational squadrons based there are not going to move “somewhere else” to satisfy the whims of a few malcontents.
NASWI is the premier airborne Electronic Attack Warfare and Maritime Patrol training base on the west coast. The men and women who fly and maintain the aircraft based there aren’t doing so “for fun”. They are training 24/7 to attain a readiness level sufficient to defend our freedom and livelihood here at home – and anywhere else in the world. At the very least, those who are audibly offended by the “sound of freedom” should be eminently appreciative and grateful for their dedication and service!
The recent letter from Steve Bristoe, president, Oak Harbor Council of the Navy League (Seattle Times letters, 12/2/18), is the most effective and concise response to the issue I have seen, and is worthy of reprinting:
“Cartoonist David Horsey’s recent Navy illustration and accompanying commentary lack considered perspective. The Navy has flown over the Olympic Peninsula since World War II, and jet noise has emanated from Whidbey Island since the late 1950s. ‘Navy brass’ are quite conscientious and attuned to their global mission, while managing risk to their aircrews, and to weighing intrusion upon the public.
“The EA-18G ‘Growler’ is peerless at protecting our jets and troops in combat. Due to this, the Growler, and its crew expertise, are in the highest possible demand. The increase in jet inventory and increase in training are vital to safety and in line with historical impacts.
“By contrast, the characters depicted in the cartoon, and in reality, are most likely recent Pacific Northwest arrivals. After having moved here, they wish the Navy to move elsewhere. Apart from their personal distaste for jet noise, most complaints expressed by current activists are purposeful histrionics, easily debunked exaggerations or misinformation heavily shaded in gray.”
Bruce Elliot
La Conner

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