Along the lines of the silliness we’re seeing surrounding Jade Helm in Texas and other places, we’re also see an almost reflexive antagonism to any military training anywhere.
A couple cases from my own roots in the Pacific Northwest. First, just outside NAS Whidbey Island is a small airstrip known as OLF Coupeville. This “Out Lying Field” is used to practice carrier approaches without unduly tying up the traffic pattern around the main air station. Most Naval Air Stations have one or two.
People that buy property in the area have to sign an acknowledgement that they are, in fact, aware that jets will be flying overhead. And the Navy publishes a schedule of operations well in advance, so people can plan accordingly. The Navy takes other steps to minimize the disruption loud low flying jets cause.
Of course, that’s not enough for some people. A small group of agitators have made it their goal to ban the Navy from flying from OLF through the federal courts. This, field the Navy has been using since 1943, and been using with much louder jets since 1962.
Similarly, when the Navy announced plans to operate mobile Electronic Warfare simulators on the Olympic Peninsula, people were instantly up in arms about the “radiation” involved. Of course, the Navy isn’t going to be producing deadly ionizing nuclear radiation. They’ll be using radio frequency energy. And still people objected to that, in spite of being blithely unaware of the recently installed weather radar in the same area that has a peak output orders of magnitude greater than the planned mobile emitters.
And currently, the US Army at Joint Base Lewis McChord is seeking input from the public on establishing training areas on public land for its helicopter crews.
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Have you ever seen a field after a helicopter has landed on it? You cannot tell that a helicopter has landed on it. Even in a worst case scenario, should a helicopter crash, the Army goes to great effort to ensure that no damage is done to the environment. Seriously, you’ve never seen a more environmentally conscious organization than the Army.
But of course, as MushDogs points out, the urge of NIMBYism is reflexive.
Mind you, these same people don’t turn away a military Search and Rescue helicopter when it comes to hoist them out of the mountains. They just don’t want them to train to operate in the mountains. Note, this isn’t private property we’re discussing here. This is land already owned by the federal government, and airspace that isn’t restricted.
There was a time not very long ago when people might not be very happy about operations like this, but understood it was simply a part of life. Today, however, even the most modest imposition upon them is cause for uproar.