I happened to finally receive the summer Oak Harbor Navy League newsletter last week and until Monday was mainly a fundraiser for a statewide campaign. Figure I'd share with my emphasis and then some comments:
This past Saturday Candy and I attended the EA Ball (aka Prowler/Growler Ball) along with Beth Munns and other members of the Oak Harbor Area Council. We were honored to be seated at the table with Commodore Shay and NAS Skipper Captain Johnston and their wives. It was a great opportunity to renew old friendships. The Electronic Wing does a great job honoring their own during the evening. There where many important leadership awards presented, including our very own Vice ADM John Perry Award, all sponsored by key defense contractors and/or industry leaders. During the evening some of the conversation centered around the recent criticism by small group of the Central Whidbey Community regarding noise around OLF in Coupeville. We all know the need for training at OLF and how it relates to force readiness, but, it occurs to me that other than support through the Navy League and participating in the award program, we don't say much individually.
There-in lies the rub! In today's complicated world we can no longer rely on the Navy League as the only line of support for the Navy both locally and nationally. Individually we have to step up and express our opinion. That is exactly what is happening in Central Whidbey regarding OLF, people with individual opinions are held in higher regard than groups (including Navy League).
Our opportunity to comment has been extended to August 31st. The issue is: the Navy relocating two Expeditionary Squadron and one Reserve Squadron to NASWI for the change-over from Prowler to Growler. As members of the Navy League, we understand how complicated the change-over is, and how important the training becomes to the squadrons. It is essential for our country's national security. This activity will result in no additional training flights in Coupeville at OLF. If you agree, please send a couple lines of support by e-mail to: whdb_naswi_pao-AT-navy.mil (I changed the @ to -AT- for anti-spam purposes).
My comments: I agree completely. Hence this blog. I was reluctant to be the Oak Harbor Navy League Facebook admin and luckily they found somebody else because now this individual can be as acerbic as I see fit towards the progressive small group agitation. Otherwise, I'd have to pull a lot of punches it seems.
That said: Although the agitation has been arguably been put down - perhaps because there's a close election fight in Island County's District 2 between a progressive with a difficult record to defend versus a Chamber of Commerce conservative who will work to improve disclosure of jet noise in Jill Johnson; if the progressives see any daylight, any hope of doing damage to a generally conservative institution for the sake of it could end very poorly for NAS Whidbey Island. After all, it was anti-noise agitators in the late 1980s and early 1990s that arguably put NAS Whidbey Island on one of the original Base Relignment And Closure/BRAC lists for closure. So I'll be on patrol down here...