I ask that your readers please understand this Valentine’s Day the anxiety that many of us in the Skagit-Whidbey region like I have. It’s an anxiety every time the ignorant bang the war drum with North Korea, Central Whidbey residents exercising their First Amendment rights seeking to deny vital training for our naval aviators who protect all Americans — not just airshow fans, and the anxiety we friends of Naval Air Station Whidbey Island sailors feel we may never see and thank you hug them again.
Naval aviation is inherently dangerous. It’s not all occasional afterburners, precision flying dictated by a thick manual called “NATOPS,” smoking tires on a runway used since January 1967 for jets, and occasional water vapor off the wingtips like you experience at OLF Coupeville. Naval aviation’s also bringing combat power to defend our nation and then returning 25 tons of Growler to a tiny runway in the sea, sometimes in the dark. Furthermore, counting on each Growler safely landing is not just two aircrew, but several thousand sailors working on the carrier providing support to keep that Growler airborne. I would hope, and the VAQ Wing leadership may correct me, behind those valiant sailors are mere civilians in the fight to hold OLF Coupeville like me.
I just hope to goodness our troops know the love of we civilians in the fight to hold OLF does not end with bumper stickers, loud t-shirts, and cheering at each afterburner use; but for some of us actual presence in the “Belly of the Beast” that is the Island County Commissioners’ chambers.
For me personally, I find Island County Commissioner Rick Hannold’s presence calming in the Belly of the Beast as a former Navy Chief and with his daily demeanor.
As such I endorse Rick Hannold for another four years.