Letter: Navy response to critics eroding local support

Editor,

Sorry, Sen. Bailey. The Attorney General’s siding with residents against the Growler noise was not inappropriate. Most of the folks who live on Whidbey and have endured the noise of the Intruder/Prowler know more or less what to expect at high times and low times of preparations for deployment. As long as the planes followed the flight guidelines, one could get through the two or three times a week training times. Then along comes the Growler … it is not endurable. It is much, much louder, and to deny that is blatantly insulting to those of us who have lived in the flight areas for many years.

When the Growlers fly, even with earplugs or coverings, it is not endurable, and it is damaging to anyone who tries to work outside even with ear protection. The base commander seems to think that stonewalling and continuing these flights in the face of civilian complaints will make the problem go away. The Navy has even used their noise “experts” in an attempt to convince us the noise level is not a problem in terms of health and well-being of island citizenry. As a result the Navy community has suffered loss of support and camaraderie enjoyed until recently.

It is about time our elected officials took notice. The Navy does not own Whidbey Island. Most of us have been glad to share the mission our young pilots have and for most the part have supported them as they trained here. But this is a different matter. Trying to make the residents and communities feel guilt because their properties and lives have become untenable due to increased flights and noise due to an overzealous base commander and those who support his position is wrong, Sen. Bailey, and is costly in terms of goodwill and community support. And outright lying about the noise levels does not help. I would be willing to guess you do not live directly under the flights.

Some of those who have researched the problem know the Navy was warned by Boeing of the noise levels, but it would have cost more dollars per plane to fix it. I, for one, believe the incurred cost of the noise is far greater, and I believe in the long run the Navy will be the big loser all around.

We are not late comers to the island and the Navy impact; have been here for over 30 years. Our own family includes two generations of Navy pilots and academy graduates. I do not write this letter lightly, but I assure you, Sen. Bailey, this is a matter that needs honest attention, and our elected representatives need to listen to residents whose health and properties are affected.

Shirley E. Viall

Coupeville

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