I have followed the letters to the editor the past few weeks about the Growlers, and have wanted to share my perspective.
My husband and I bought property on South Whidbey in 1988 and have been here for 32 years. It is where we raised our family and built our peaceful rural home. We don’t want to move. We knew the Navy had a base in Oak Harbor that was popular with the people who lived up there, but it didn’t negatively affect our lives because it was so far away. We felt that “live and let live” worked out fine.
We have a small airport here on South Whidbey, but there aren’t many flights and they are relatively quiet and of short duration. I can coexist with it.
This spring, as I was outside working in my garden, I heard Growlers — an appropriate name — for the first time here. It is loud and ongoing noise and, even when they stop for a while, I am on edge for when they come back. It has made me have to plan when I can go outside and sit on my deck, walk my dog, or work in my garden. It is the “sound of tyranny” to me.
I agree with Susan Berta of Freeland; the Navy is not good neighbor now.
I have two options to suggest.
One, the Navy completely move the Growlers away to fly over a less populated area — and not over a National Park. Two, they fly out of Ault Field on North Whidbey instead of Outlying Field Coupeville and do their touchdown practices in Eastern Washington.
The jets’ support seems to mostly come from the Oak Harbor area, so I’m sure people there can enjoy “the sound of freedom” twice a day as they come and go, but leave the people of Central and South Whidbey, and Camano and the Olympic Peninsula, in peace.
Last week’s schedule had no Growler flights planned for Ault Field, but mid- to late-afternoon, then night Monday and Tuesday and late morning to mid-afternoon at OLF Coupeville Wednesday and Thursday. This is wrong.