Saturday, September 06, 2008

Noise complaints and the military

Someone forwarded me a note recently that reminded me of the uneasy tension that sometimes oddly exists between the military and the population we believe we protect and defend.

I saw something similar in Utah. the National Guard's primary training area, Camp Williams, is near the "point of the mountain" a spot roughly halfway between Salt Lake City and Provo. It is a large expanse of training area, but also is fairly conveniently located given the population bases around it. That being said, for quite a long time, it was relatively isolated from people and other stuff. Which meant no problems for artillery practice, helicopters and other fairly noisy activities that we sometimes engage in. I know I have some fond memories of training with explosives as a combat engineer- when you're just training, blowing things up can be immensely entertaining.
A representative of the "noisemakers"

Well, as the population of the state kept rising, developers starting building closer and closer to Camp Williams, and inevitably I guess, the residents of a development just adjacent to the training area started complaining about the noise, and since then Camp Williams has started setting rules as to when and how much various types of activities can be done, explicitly due to these noise complaints. The obvious sarcastic response- did you not notice the military base next to you when you were looking at purchasing a home just next door? The military vehicles, barbed wire, and artillery not tip you off?

Anyway, here's the e-mail:

Luke AFB is west of Phoenix and is rapidly being surrounded by civilization that complains about the noise from the base and its planes, forgetting that it was there long before they were.

An individual who lives somewhere near Luke AFB wrote the local paper complaining about a group of F-16s that disturbed his/her day at the mall. When that individual read the response from a Luke AFB officer, it must have stung quite a bit.

The complaint: 'Question of the day for Luke Air Force Base:

Whom do we thank for the morning air show? Last Wednesday, at precisely 9:11 a.m, a tight formation of four F-16 jets made a low pass over Arrowhead Mall, continuing west over Bell Road at approximately 500 feet.

Imagine our good fortune! Do the Tom Cruise-wannabes feel we need this wake-up call, or were they trying to impress the cashiers at Mervyns ' early bird special? Any response would be appreciated. '

The response:

Regarding a wake-up call from Luke's jets' (Letters, Thursday): On June 15, at precisely 9:12 a.m., a perfectly timed four-ship fly by of F-16s from the 63rd Fighter Squadron at Luke Air Force Base flew over the grave of Capt. Jeremy Fresques. Capt. Fresques was an Air Force officer who was previously stationed at Luke Air Force Base and was killed in Iraq on May 30, Memorial Day.

At 9 a.m.on June 15, his family and friends gathered at Sunland Memorial Park in Sun City to mourn the loss of a husband, son and friend. Based on the letter writer's recount of the fly by, and because of the jet noise, I'm sure you didn't hear the 21-gun salute, the playing of taps, or my words to the widow and parents of Capt. Fresques as I gave them their son's flag on behalf of the President of the United States and all those veterans and servicemen and women who understand the sacrifices they have endured.

A four-ship fly by is a display of respect the Air Force gives to those who give their lives in defense of freedom. We are professional aviators and take our jobs seriously, and on June 15 what the letter writer witnessed was four officers lining up to pay their ultimate respects. The letter writer asks, 'Whom do we thank for the morning air show? ' The 56th Fighter Wing will make the call for you, and forward your thanks to the widow and parents of Capt. Fresques, and thank them for you, for it was in their honor that my pilots flew the most honorable formation of their lives.


Lt. Col. Grant L. Rosensteel, Jr. USAF

As far as the four ship formation, it probably looked something like this:

The missing man formation

An addendum to that post... my sister sent me a link that linked again to a youtube video:

I don't know Kim Komando, but I appreciated the Lizzie Palmer video showing appreciation for the sacrifices folks in the military make. I am truly proud of the hundreds of thousands (millions?) of my brothers and sisters in the military who have been serving repeated deployments around the world. Some might criticize this video as overly dramatic, but I'd suggest they haven't "been there" and should tread lightly.

Thanks, Beth.


Jolene said...


I came across your blog from the mission web site. We never served together (I was Soeur Goodman then) but you were traveling with your family and stopped by Carcassonne where I was serving.

I loved reading this post. I live in the Phoenix area and my husband and I are very aware of the complaints being raised about the noise surrounding Luke. My husband is a home builder, people complain about the smell of the dairy they built next to, the traffic surrounding the high school near them but this just takes the cake. I love the response. Thanks for sharing.

Dana said...

Thanks, Jolene, for your kind words, and I'm impressed that you remembered me from Carcassonne. A beautiful city, but I don't remember that visit with my folks nearly as much as a visit when I was a ZL, making a trip up for splits that just happened to be on Bastille Day- the fireworks at la Cite...oooh la la! Magnifique!

And as I mentioned being proud of my association with my brothers and sisters in arms, I am likewise proud to be in the group referred to as RMs- and proud also to be part of Les Missions Francaises de Bourdeaux et de Marseille.

Ca fait deja, quoi, comme preque vingt ans depuis ca, non?!

Best to you and yours.

Ton frere dans l'evangile,