The military’s whole reason for being is to serve and protect us, which they have ably and nobly done.
When instead they harm us, as the new, louder Growler jets will surely do as noise meter measurements show, despite promises to the contrary, then the unwritten compact of “we support them and they protect us” breaks down.
There is no such thing as citizens having to put up with some amount of physical and mental harm in order to be protected. Any amount of harm is the opposite of protection, and having “a little hearing loss” is like being “a little pregnant.”
With the advent of the louder Growlers, extended practice hours, and wider flight patterns, a much larger percentage of the population is in harm’s way, and the potential harm is much more serious than it was before. This includes harm to children’s and adults’ hearing, harm to children’s classroom learning, and debilitating sleep deprivation for working adults. Whidbey Island has not outgrown the Naval Air Station; it has dramatically upped the ante and outgrown Whidbey Island.
The sound of freedom has become the sound of abuse, the sound of a mutually beneficial social compact suddenly breaking and becoming lopsided in favor of one party at the expense of the other.
Serve and protect has become dictate and don’t care.
The military mission of the base is essential to America, but it does not have to be located here. The much more sensible place for these much louder jets to be based and to practice? The vast, desolate scablands of Eastern Washington.
I’m sure Doc Hastings and Cathy McMorris Rogers would welcome them with open arms.