Letter: Save the shock-and-awe flyovers for the enemy


At 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 19 I awoke to the sound of an approaching Growler. It was low and loud. As I jumped out of bed to look from my open bedroom window, the Growler passed over my home, it’s belly with blinking light just above the treetops.

Was it about to crash?

Just then, the pilot applied full power and shot off to the northeast. I was literally shocked. Ears ringing. An extreme headache came soon. Slurred speech. I vomited. Incontinent. I likely had a TIA, or “mini” stroke; bleeding in my brain. The next morning, the online Medicare doctor advised me to immediately go to the ER for a CT scan.

I have called the Navy noise complaint hotline six times in the past two weeks to report Navy aircraft flyovers below FAA regulated altitude. Aircraft should fly 1,000 feet above any obstacle within a 2,000-foot radius, unless taking off or landing.

But my home is 5 miles from the Ault Field runway, and is at the bottom of a hill. So 1,500 feet or greater altitude would be proper. These six flights were each below 500 feet. One-third the required altitude equals nine times the ground level noise. The noise increases with the inverse of the square of the distance.

But there is also the safety issue. Less altitude gives the pilot, many in training, less time to adjust for error or mechanical problems. Lower altitude places the pilot and crew and residents below at greater and unnecessary risk.

Why did this event occur? Was the Navy punishing me for past hotline complaints? Who authorized that? Does the pilot have the opportunity to just grab the keys to go for a joyride in “his” multimillion dollar aircraft, to buzz someone he or she doesn’t like?

That stroke could have killed me. I’m 75, fit and healthy. The hum in my ears continues to date. Other neighbors less close by, were also shocked by this “extreme noise.” Another said she thought she should “hit the deck” for her own safety.

Someone’s head should roll. Someone, or people, should be dishonorably discharged from the Navy for this criminal act.

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray is investigating.

A Navy that makes little effort to be reasonable, safe and considerate to its neighbors must change. Shock and awe may be appropriate to the enemy, but not to the citizens of the country you serve.

Tim Verschuyl

Oak Harbor