A Navy plane drew this picture in the sky over Okanogan County on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017.
November 17, 2017~Dear Whidbey Island Navy Growler Pilots,
Yesterday, one of your aircrews went to a lot of trouble to skywrite a giant erect phallus over one of the local areas in which you train and make a lot of noise. Your neighbors who endure this noise have always known that subtlety is not the Navy’s strong suit, what with all the decibels, bombs, irradiation, state park and beach combat training and general whooping it up for war that it has imposed on us.
You have, however, taken chest-thumping to, shall we say, a new low. When everyone has finally stopped laughing and backslapping and saying whoa, dude, awesome, would you please take a quiet moment to reflect on the symbolism of what has been done?
The exquisite timing of this stunt makes a number of messages as clear and vulgar as the dick in the sky:
- That boys will be boys, now and forevermore, amen.
- That all of your neighbors who’ve objected to your intrusions into once-quiet lives in these once-quiet regions can just s**k on it.
- That our tax dollars are yours for the wasting;
- That starving or eliminating domestic programs and laying a real hurtin’ on people who don’t deserve it, in order for you to gas up your planes and go play is our loss and your gain;
- That women should look up and always remember who’s on top. Also, even the sky is having a #MeToo moment.
- That each $68 million dollar fighter jet your neighbors see flying overhead is under the command of a guy who wants everyone to know there’s a reason the controls that affect all of our lives are in a place called the cockpit.
Yes, we know, this is not the first time it’s happened, so you can’t even claim originality. An Air Force retiree recalls a dick in the sky at Lackland AFB a number of years ago; the base commander put the pilot on disciplinary leave. We are led to believe that the Navy takes this incident seriously, because it says it will exercise “zero tolerance” and “hold the aircrew accountable.” Since holding naval personnel accountable for previous bad behavior that the community has called out has not happened in a long time around here, we have no idea what that means: a lecture? a slap on the wrist? a memo to the personnel file? a wink and a nod? next time, draw a vagina?
This writer does not normally resort to colorful language, and you will notice that these posts are also never signed, because threats in the past due to speaking out (which the Navy has never addressed) have deemed it wiser to not reveal our names.
So, dear Whidbey Island Navy Growler pilots, please know this: we realize not all of you are like the dickheads who pulled this stunt, but we bet a lot of you are laughing about it anyway. If you pass this off as harmless, you will be complicit and reinforcing the six messages above. And you’ll be confirming another one: that the Navy holds its neighbors in contempt, because, as retired naval officer and former Island County Commissioner Mac McDowell, who speaks up for the Navy locally, said in a radio interview and call-in show,* “…the citizens of the area are collateral damage in the war on terror.”
It may as well have been a middle finger, but the dick was probably easier to draw.
But it’s always good to know where we stand, which will eventually be as constituents on the throats of the people who control the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process. We don’t expect results any time soon, because you are too busy converting Whidbey Island into one giant polluted mega-base and this region into a giant defense contractor Disneyland, but as you’ve shown to people in other regions of the world who’ve endured your arrogance, your neighbors will not forget, and we will prevail. Should you decide to become better neighbors, most of us would support you.
Your Neighbors in Okanagon, the San Juans, Whidbey Island, and the Olympic Peninsula
*Radio interview was on KSER 90.7 and KXIR 89.9 on Friday, June 19, 2015 from 4 to 5:00 pm, hosted by Ed Bremner and Darrell Gray.