My letter is partially in response to Pat Smith’s Oct. 17 letter “Noise discloser part of the OLF problem.” Watching OLF Coupeville flight ops from 525 feet away and subsequently reading the Island County government noise disclosure form, I agree. I even testified in front of the Island County Commissioners on Oct. 14 asking for a written reply in part to see about improving the noise disclosure.
However, I quarrel with the allegation that I support that OLF Coupeville is only for economic reasons.
Rather, as an Oak Harbor Navy Leaguer, I fight to save OLF Coupeville or keep OLF Coupeville open until replacement mostly because my previous and present Navy aircrew friends assure me OLF Coupeville is vital to training.
As aircraft carrier landings are difficult, obviously practicing aircraft carrier landings is vital.
Sadly, Citizens of the Ebey’s Reserve’s (COER’s) misbehavior clouds the land use issue dialogue. Certainly a contradiction exists when COER claims, “We are pro-Navy, but against them using the OLF at Coupeville to practice their touch and go flights,” but COER has not fired their president, Ken Pickard, for lobbying with these hateful words: “It is time for you ‘representatives’ to get some balls and take the death machine on this issue, quit licking their jackboots. Buck up!”
COER President Pickard even alleged Coupeville Mayor Nancy Conard and Commissioner Helen Price-Johnson are “afraid of losing the federal pork it delivers here on pay days” – “it” being Whidbey Island Naval Air Station.
Yet neither politician has publicly demanded a change in COER tone – and as a friend of many NAS Whidbey Island personnel, I feel obliged to publicly defend our troops.
Ultimately, if we can be more civil and be patient, I believe mitigation strategies exist that are pro-Navy and pro-Whidbey.