NAS Oak Harbor?
The Navy traditionally names its naval air bases after the town where the base is located — Naval Air Station Pensacola, Naval Air Station Lemoore, Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Naval Air Station Fallon and so on.
Maybe part of the problem on Whidbey Island is in the name of the naval air station here. Maybe the Department of Defense thinks that its naval base occupies all of Whidbey Island — not just part of Oak Harbor? Maybe that’s why they think it’s OK to increase jet operations that impact thousands of civilians who live, work and come to Whidbey Island and the region?
So, I think we should ask the Secretary of the Navy to get the base’s name correct and stop all of the confusion. It should be NAS Oak Harbor. That makes it clear who owns what. And if naval operations don’t fit into the space, safe alternatives should be found elsewhere.
Maybe restoring a balance between the Navy and the communities begins with a name change?
And to be clear — for those islands that are hosts to naval air stations, like North Island in California or Oceana in Virginia, Whidbey Islanders do not want to be a naval air base.
We never have, really. We don’t want our lives, lands, air and sea occupied by jet noise.