Letter: Claims by local Growler opponents easily debunked

Editor,

The Jan. 18, “Japanese understand impact of Navy jet noise” letter is not factual.

In reality, the Japanese FCLP relocation underscores the importance of OLF Coupeville on several levels.

That letter is easily debunked, and here’s how:

• Like nearly every local activists’ contention, such as the Growler being louder than the Prowler — not true — property devaluation — Central Whidbey is up 50 percent since 2014.

• Health issues — rejected by the courts — business reduction. Valuations are strong based on objective appraisals), and jet impact on wildlife, like many military installations, Naval Air Station Whidbey and OLF Coupeville are fully abundant with wildlife.

FCLPs are not being relocated from Iwojima to Mageshima Island, “in response to Japanese citizen noise complaints on Iwojima,” as the letter asserts.

Actually, civilian access to Iwojima is severely restricted and the island is almost entirely uninhabited, apart from military personnel.

Flight carrier landing practices began on Iwojima in 1991. This was intended to be temporary until a more suitable location could be found.

Practice there incurs added operational risk and original/alternate locations impact urban populations.

The three decade search shows the uncommon rarity of suitable carrier landing settings, for which the 75-year-old Coupeville practice field is possibly the finest in the world.

The author’s claim, which is persistently echoed by activists, that “the military already owns little-used airfields in remote areas where FCLPs could be practiced today,” is without merit.

Those contrived remote locations are fully utilized and at high elevations.

Training for aircraft carrier landings must be accomplished in representative settings, at sea level, like the new Japanese island.

Similar to OLF Coupeville, Mageshima Island accentuates the Navy’s awareness of noise concerns.

Both locations show a conscientious desire to balance the unique needs of naval aviation risk management with the impact of loud jets, while also ensuring the defense of the U.S. and our allies.

Since 1902, the nonpartisan Navy League is committed to informing the American people and their government concerning the importance of strong sea services.

Steve Bristow

President, Oak Harbor Navy League

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