Letters to the Editor

Pro-Navy majority silent no more | Letters

Editor,

Speaking as a retired military member, I am amazed at the outpouring of support for the naval aviators who live and train at Whidbey before going into harms way — now a 71-year tradition in Island County.

The pro-Navy Facebook site, with more than 3,500 likes, City of Oak Harbor resolution, rallies and petitions have, quite frankly, dwarfed the handful of “Ebey Reservists” who attempted this same litigation scheme in the 1990s.

It’s not about the Growler. Their goal is to shut down the OLF Coupeville and, if necessary, Ault Field. Their current website indicates that a new lawyer is on board and looking at lawsuit options for four counties, thereby extending the lawsuit to NAS Whidbey.

The facts about the anti-Navy flying at OLF Coupeville and NAS Whidbey remain:

n It’s not about “Ebey Reserve.” The federal statute, and county ordinance, state that the reserve’s mission is to “preserve the historical record from the 19th century to present.” The Navy and OLF have been part of that record and are listed in the founding documents. Moreover, the Navy, county and reserve worked toward the same goal of preventing high-density development in and around Ebey’s Reserve;

n It’s not about the “Growler.” Many of the same litigants attempted a similar scheme in the 1980s and 90s when the Prowler was fully implemented and Intruder retired. Their claim was that the Prowler was “much noiser.”

n It’s not about the noise. The Growler is comparable to the Prowler, and 6,000 OLF flights amounts to about 45 minutes a week — about five times less than the volume flown at the OLF in the 1970s and 1980s when there were A-6s and EA-6Bs. The 112 dB peak, right under the take-off, lasts for a half second. The 112 dB noise at a Seahawk’s game lasts for hours  — not to mention rock concerts, which many of the litigants likely attended in their lifetimes, or loud music in their children’s ears from ear buds.

n It’s not about the 68 percent of county jobs, property values and economics driven by the county’s economic engine. Most of the litigants are retired or independently wealthy.

It is about them, the litigants, a few rich landowners, several with law degrees who either failed to read their homeowner noise disclosures, simply don’t like the military and don’t care if critical training is reduced — coming from their 1960s era — or both of the above.

Many of us live under the flight pattern, signed a noise agreement and proudly support both our fighting aviators and county’s economic engine.

To the majority, your support and actions matter more than you can imagine to both our Whidbey sailors, but also those at the Pentagon who make basing decisions.

The handful of “Reservists” are attempting to create an artificial public opinion and leverage this to sway courts in a multiple lawsuit scheme.

Your voice matters. Please sign a pro-Navy petition. If you are unable to find a petition in a local business in the coming weeks, please call me at 360-929-8207 and I’ll direct you to one.

Mac McDowell
Oak Harbor

Editor’s note: Mac McDowell is a former Island County Commissioner.

 

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