Low-flying Navy jets stir high anxiety

The two Growlers roared over Walla Walla at nightfall Thursday.

A U.S. Navy Boeing EA-18G Growler of test and evaluation squadron VX-31 flies over the city of Ridgecrest, Calif., as it returns to NAWS China Lake at the conclusion of a test mission on the Electronic Combat Range (Echo).

A U.S. Navy Boeing EA-18G Growler of test and evaluation squadron VX-31 flies over the city of Ridgecrest, Calif., as it returns to NAWS China Lake at the conclusion of a test mission on the Electronic Combat Range (Echo). U.S. Navy photo by Cmdr. Ian C. Anderson, USN

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WALLA WALLA — It was a buzz that left the town abuzz.

Two low-flying military jets which flew over Walla Walla and College Place about 9:30 p.m. Thursday evening created a stir that was still percolating this morning.

The aircraft were two EA-18G Growler jets from Whidbey Island Naval Air Station. Anthony Popp, deputy public affairs officer, said the two jets left the base at 9 p.m., performed practice approaches at Walla Walla Regional Airport and then returned home.

Growlers are electronic warfare jets that went into service in 2009 and are the successor to the EA-6B Prowlers that used to be flown commonly in the area.

Judging from comments on Facebook, the low-flying aircraft brought people out of their home, panicked some pets and set off a car alarm or two.

Ed Reading, a resident of Catherine Street, said in an email the aircraft “sounded like it was coming into the house. We were getting ready for bed, but we put our clothes back on and went out into the street.”

Reading said the aircraft “was military, judging by the noise; they don’t have the noise suppression that civilians do. He was at 200 to 300 feet, which is unusually low for a five-mile approach to Walla Walla Regional Airport. I saw the landing light (on the nose, not the wing); a skinny body; the two wingtip lights; two exhausts, close to the centerline, not on the wing. As he passed I thought I saw a T-tail, but I’m not certain.”

Patrons at the Fort Walla Walla amphitheater also heard the aircraft, which flew over during the intermission of this season’s summer musical production.

Andy Porter can be reached at andyporter@wwub.com or 526-8318.

Comments

Jerrycummins 9 months ago

I also heard the aircraft. To me, it sounded like the cost of freedom.

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ImJustSayin 9 months ago

I know they can't, but it would be great if we could get advance notice of when they're heading our way. They're a cool sight!

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barracuda 9 months ago

Even more cool after dark...

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Jerrycummins 9 months ago

I also heard the military aircraft flying over Walla Walla. It certainly sounded to me like the cost of freedom. Go Navy!

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Jerrycummins 9 months ago

I also heard the aircraft overhead last night. It sounded like the price of freedom to me.

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Jerrycummins 9 months ago

I also heard the military aircraft flying over Walla Walla last night. It sounded like the price of freedom to me.

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Jerrycummins 9 months ago

I heard the aircraft last night also. It sure sounded like the price of freedom to me. Go Navy!

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Hersey 9 months ago

Okay Jerry, we get your point. I also heard them, and I thought they were going to crash into my house. I thought my neighbor was mowing his lawn, until it got louder and louder. When I went outside and saw what they were, I thought it was really cool.

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CRANE07 9 months ago

Jerry, It's not the price of freedom. It's the SOUND of freedom! I have no doubt that they flew by the rules. They're pro's. Hey we are lucky to live in a nice quite area. A reminder of who we owe this to every 5 or ten years is a small price to pay. No doubt it'll be another ten years after the whining here in Walla Walla.

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ImJustSayin 9 months ago

He meant it in a good way. He's a vet

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Csivley 9 months ago

It's the sound of freedom, glad to have them. Should encourage more practice approaches into ALW.

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paco1234 9 months ago

Jerry is already making more noise ( with his 6 postings) than the Navy fighters! ( Just kidding, Jerry). Back in the 90s our KC- 135s from Fairchild AFB did similar exercises over the Walla Walla airport with more noise than the Navy planes. As I recall nobody complained then.

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