Letter: Many support the Navy on Whidbey, but not jet noise

Editor,

Witnessing the disharmony and slurs surrounding the Navy jet noise issue is extremely disheartening.

The Aug. 20 Whidbey News-Times article by Laura Guido reported, “More than 100 people gathered Saturday to declare their support for the Navy on Whidbey Island.”

I believe many more islanders would have shown up if the rally was actually to support the Navy and not promoted as a “we love jet noise” rally.

Supporting the Navy and not wanting additional jet noise need to be clarified as two separate issues.

The first time I came to Oak Harbor I saw the huge planes on Route 20, making me totally aware I was on a Navy base island. When I purchased a house here, I gave up an affordable view for a home in a no jet noise zone. Jet noise has increased but is nothing compared to what I experienced recently while visiting WAIF during OLF Coupeville touch-and-go maneuvers.

The excruciating noise level made me totally understand what anti-noise people are complaining about. Technology has changed over the years and a previously acceptable noise level is now unbearable in this new generation of aircraft.

It is concerning to note that the rally organizer is a resident of Freeland and some attendees were from off island. Without experiencing the intensity of the jet noise first hand, we really do not have a concept of the magnitude the anti-noise people are dealing with and we cannot just dismiss them as “anti-Navy.”

I believe there are many Whidbey islanders like myself. I was excited to tour the Navy base at their open house event. I respect and admire the young people I see in uniform and I appreciate the sacrifice they are making for all of us.

And, I totally sympathize with the people who cannot tolerate the intensity of jet noise and do not want to hear it increased fourfold.

Kathleen Sulak

Oak Harbor

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