Whidbey Crosswind The Puget Sound Veterans’ Monthly | November 2013
A chief never forgets Billy Wolf’s miraculous recovery z pg. 2 Serving WHIDBEY ISLAND’S VETERANS, retired military personnel and families
WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM HIS FRIENDS By JANIS REID
Photo by Janis Reid
Senior Chief William “Billy” Wolf with his best friend Senior Chief Ryan Stauffer, who helped search crews local his wounded friend.
Billy Wolf makes a miraculous recovery from what could have been a deadly accident As he lay paralyzed face down somewhere in the North Cascades, William “Billy” Wolf prayed that God would either take him, or that someone would find him. When each morning he still awoke, he realized it might not be his time just yet.
knew exactly where he was headed.
believe how well I was doing.”
Once Stauffer was reached, search crews located Wolf within minutes.
Both Wolf and Stauffer were overwhelmed by the response from their Navy “brothers and sisters.” Wolf said it was the support of his Navy family, both during the search and through his recovery, that kept him motivated. Even chiefs from Lewis-McChord, where he was previously stationed, came up to check on him, Wolf said.
“I said, ‘You guys are in the wrong spot,’” Stauffer said. “Within 45 minutes, I got an email saying they found him.” According to law enforcement agencies, Wolf was found July 7 on Forest Service Road 1755 in the Finney-Cumberland area, south of the South Skagit Highway. His bike was found nearby. Wolf was immediately airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle by the Navy’s Search and Rescue unit. “They come together and they find you,” Stauffer said. “Joe Blow civilian wouldn’t have been found for weeks.” Wolf’s initial prognosis was not good.
“I called up to the Lord and asked if it was my time and the Lord said, ‘No!,’” Wolf said in a Saturday interview.
“His injuries were intensive and his recovery will be long,” said Tony Popp, NAS Whidbey public affairs officer, after the 2012 accident.
Wolf, a quality assurance Senior Chief with VAQ 136 at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, spent three days alone in the wilderness after being injured in a motorcycle accident. An admirer of the region’s beautiful waterfalls, Wolf left alone on a 2000 Honda Enduro July 5, 2012.
Indeed, due to three days of paralysis, his right leg did not get enough circulation and had to be amputated from the knee down. His right arm was shattered and had to be reconstructed. And while his broken neck rendered him a paraplegic, surgeons were able to restore much of his functionality.
Some time that afternoon, Wolf lost control of his bike, slid into a ravine, hit a log or rock and went over his handlebars. He broke his neck, injuring his spine which rendered him paralyzed.
Today, after more than a year of rehabilitation, Wolf is as energetic as ever and able to get around either in a wheelchair or to walk with a prosthetic leg. He remained at Harborview until recent months when he was released to live with his son who is stationed at Fort Lewis.
His discovery was no accident. When Wolf did not report for duty Friday morning, Navy staff became concerned and started a search in conjunction with the Skagit County Sheriff’s Office and the Day Creek volunteer fire fighters. As it turned out, searchers spent two days looking in the wrong area. They finally contacted his best friend and fellow Senior Chief Ryan Stauffer, who had been deployed to an aircraft carrier and
In addition, fellow Navy chiefs were frequent guests at Harborview, Wolf said, offering encouragement and hassling him for not sporting his military attire and haircut. “In the hospital they gave him crap for not having a haircut or being in uniform,” Stauffer said. “They’d say, ‘Senior chief you need to square yourself away,’” Wolf remembered. “The Navy really took good care of me. The support chain is what got me through.” Wolf was able to thank them in person earlier this month at the Chief Officer’s Club on Ault Field Road. The key, Wolf said, is that being a part of the Navy chief community is like becoming part of a very loyal family. “They say a chief never forgets,” Stauffer said. “It was overwhelming and it showed us, hey this is real.”
Earlier this month, Wolf was able to go back and visit his medical staff at Harborview — walking in on his prothetic leg.
Moving forward, Wolf said he has made peace with what happened and is eager to move forward with his life. He plans to still work in aviation or volunteer with the Department of Veterans Affairs working with other amputees. He and Stauffer visited the crash site last week, which gave Wolf some closure, he said.
“I got to walk in,” Wolf said. “It was so awesome to meet them. The orthopedic surgeon who put my arm back together couldn’t
“It felt good,” Wolf said. “I had peace of mind with it. The world doesn’t stop because you’ve lost a limb.”
“We were gonna tell you that a Sasquatch put a branch in my spokes,” Wolf joked. “It would be a better story.”
PBY Memorial seeks donations By JANIS REID
Overcoming odds Billy Wolf makes a miraculous recovery from what could have been a deadly accident.
After service Honored veteran Bob Wagner served the country for seven years before and during World War II. Now he spends his days enjoying and educating people on wine.
The Hookup Navy resumes tuition assistance. VA resumes normal operations after shutdown. Obamacare will have little impact on Tricare.
Whidbey Island Naval Air Station was the recipient of the 2013 Secretary of the Navy Energy and Water Management Gold Recognition award in late September.
Some NAS Whidbey employees voiced displeasure at the federal goverment after a shutdown put them into mandatory furloughs.
Safety certification The Rooks of Electronic Attack Squadron 137 were recently certified “Safe for Flight” in the EA-18G Growler.
Laurin “Bud” Zylstra, an Oak Harbor resident, brought home dozens of American, German and Japanese artifacts upon returning from his service during World War II in 1945. Zylstra is only one of many Whidbey Island residents who have provided items that now comprise the PBY Memorial on NAS Seaplane Base in Oak Harbor. The growing memorial is hoping to continue expanding with the help of additional donations from the Whidbey Island and surrounding communities. William Stein said that any war or military-related items, including books, letters, pictures, clothing, aircraft parts or other memorabilia is welcome at the PBY Memorial. “There’s a place where this stuff should go,” Stein said. Stein’s fear is that people may have priceless memorabilia in their basements or are considering giving items to charity without thought to its historical significance. “We’d like to have it have a home, and for people to come see it,” Stein said. With rooms dedicated to each major American war since the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the memorial offers both a broad and a personal look at how the war affected Oak Harbor. The memorial’s namesake is the PBY-5A Catalina — the crown jewel of the collection which supporters hope to completely restore. Overlooking Crescent and Oak harbors next to the memorial building,
visitors are allowed to climb through the plane and envision what it was like for the Navy in the 1940s. “Here you get to experience the history of the Navy and the influence of Oak Harbor on the Seaplane Base,” said memorial doussant Frank Gallow. “And people hopefully can cultivate an appreciation of the military and what they had to experience.” Just a year after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the first PBY-5A landed at the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station on Crescent Harbor. One of the Navy’s most versatile aircraft, the PBY-5A served as patrol plane, torpedo plane, dive bomber and search and rescue aircraft. Established by the PBY Memorial Foundation in September of 1998, the memorial is dedicated to the preservation of military history and the people who served the country. In addition to preserving seaplanes, the foundation would like to continue to capture the legacy of any aircraft that has been based at NAS Whidbey Island from 1942 to the present. When the war began, the Navy sought out a location with suitable favorable yearround weather for seaplane training and operations. Oak Harbor was chosen, construction began in early 1942 and operations started later that year. In the height of its usage, Seaplane base housed as many as 30 Catalinas. The memorial is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.,Wednesday through Saturday at 315 W. Pioneer Way in Oak Harbor. For more information, visit www.pbyma.org
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FOR THE LOVE OF
WINE By JANIS REID
Bob Wagner used his brother’s birth certificate in 1939 to join the U.S. National Guard at 17. He served two years and while stationed at Gettesburg waiting to be discharged, the camp received word that Pearl Harbor had been bombed by the Japanese. He went on to serve another five years during World War II. Once out of the service, Wagner went to school and worked various jobs and landed at a small wine and spirits shop where he found his life’s passion. He bought his own shop in 1955 in South Pasadena, Calif. This love of both the simplicity and complexity of wine has allowed Wagner to visit every continent in the world and every state in the nation, to meet former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton and to lecture aboard
Since his discharge from serving with the National Guard in World War II, Bob Wagner has pursued his other passion - wine
the Queen Elizabeth II.
meals,” Wagner said.
“My interest in wine is because it is the oldest known liquid beverage that has traversed different cultures and societies for thousands of years. Unfortunately, Prohibition in the United States was not very helpful to the research and development of the wine industry in the U.S.,” Wagner said.
Wagner, now a retired Coupeville resident, still ages hundreds of bottles in his cellar and still shares his expertise at lectures and presentations, both locally and abroad.
This interest has allowed him to visit France, Germany and Italy more than 40 times, plus Australia, New Zealand, Chile and Argentina to purchase and study wine. When Wagner first purchased his wine shop, there were only roughly 300 wineries in California. Today, there are approximately 3,600 wineries but most are no longer family-owned, Wagner said. “You have to know what you’re selling. Wine is a food substance in European countries. You don’t drink it as an alcohol, you drink it with
At his wine presentations, he reveals wine’s evolution from a sugar-based sustenance in ancient times to the “food product” we enjoy today. Wagner’s entrepreneurial spirit flamed to life and he studied French and Italian wines and attended wine courses in Germany. He found mentors and transformed his wine store into a full-service community shop. The young men he hired for deliveries would even walk dogs and water lawns for customers.
Photo by Janis Reid
Wagner only hired students saving money for college; if they mentioned buying a new car, he passed over them.
Bob Wagner holds his Honorable Discharge papers in his Coupeville home. Wagner joined the National Guard in 1939 at the age of 17 using his brother’s birth certificate. After serving two years, he was drafted back into service in 1941 after the bombing of Pearl Harbor - just days before he was supposed to be discharged.
“Our family believes that
Photos by Janis Reid
After his military career, Wagner found is passion in French and Italian wines. He still ages hundreds of bottles dating back more than 50 years in his basement.
education is the key to knowledge,” Wagner said, adding that education allowed him to overcome poverty and become a widely-recognized wine connoisseur.
raising more than $5 million to refurbish buildings for an alumni house at Georgetown, named the Robert and Bernice Wagner Alumni House for Wagner and his wife.
Wagner’s respect for education didn’t stop there. He funds six scholarships for needy students at Georgetown University and he assisted in
Wagner said he has also catered wine functions for Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Ford Motor Company, and lectured on cruises on every
major European river. Wager, now in his 90s, has enjoyed a life full of experiences which he continues to add to today. His goal, ultimately, is to make the most of every day. “Life is short,” Wagner said. “If you have studied civilization, which I have. You learn that life is short.”
Navy resumes military tuition assistance
Following passage of Continuing Resolution Authority (CRA), the Navy is in the process of resuming funding of voluntary education programs, including tuition assistance. Effective immediately, all Military Tuition Assistance applications for courses starting on or after Oct. 17 may be submitted. All previously approved TA requests for courses which began on or after Oct. 17 will also be honored. CNP has received inquiries regarding classes that began during the dates of the government shutdown, Oct. 1-16. Any authorization for such classes that came prior to Oct. 1 will still be honored. However, Navy will follow guidance from the DOD Instruction which states “All Military TA must be requested and approved prior to the start date of the course.” Since funding cannot not be awarded retroactively, classes that started Oct. 1-16 which were not authorized prior to Oct. 1 will not be paid for. According to Navy officials, the service will resume close to normal pre-shutdown operations, with no changes to TA execution anticipated for 2014. The bottom line for sailors is, if you have a TA voucher printed from the WebTA site, you may present this to your educational institution in lieu of payment. For more information, please call Navy College is 257-3027.
Obamacare to have little impact on Tricare The Defense Health Agency reported that the Affordable Care Act will have little impact on Tricare beneficiaries. Under the health care law, people will have health coverage that meets a minimum standard (called “minimum essential coverage”) by Jan. 1, 2014, qualify for an exemption, or may be required to pay a fee if they have affordable options, but remain uninsured. Beneficiaries who receive Tricare benefits, whether at no cost, by electing to pay an enrollment fee, or by paying monthly premiums, have minimum essential coverage under the Affordable Care Act. This includes: Ticare Prime, Prime Remote and Standard; Tricare Reserve Select; Tricare Young Adult (TYA); Tricare Retired Reserve (TRR); and the Continued Health Care Benefit Program (CHCBP). Eligibility alone for premium-based Tricare benefit plans — TRS, TYA, TRR and CHCBP — does not constitute minimum essential coverage. Eligible beneficiaries must purchase and be in good standing, by paying their premiums to have coverage in force, in order for these Tricare programs to qualify as minimum essential coverage. There are two groups of Tricare beneficiaries who do not meet the minimum essential coverage
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requirement: those getting care for line of duty only related conditions, and those only eligible to receive care in military hospitals or clinics. Beginning with the 2014 tax season and every tax year after that, the Department of Defense will send every Tricare beneficiary the same information it sends the Internal Revenue Service. This notification will detail whether sponsors and their dependents had minimum essential coverage during the previous year. Sponsors can then use this information when they file their tax forms. Because the information sent to the IRS is generated using beneficiaries’ Social Security numbers, it’s essential for sponsors to make sure their family’s Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) information is correct and up to date.
PCCC is part of the overall Non-VA Medical Care Program. It will provide all VA facilities with an additional option to purchase non-VA medical care when required veteran care services are unavailable within the VA medical facility or when the veterans benefit from receiving the needed care nearer to their homes. Among the many benefits to the veterans and VA under these new contracts, VA will enjoy standardized health care quality metrics, timely return of medical documentation, cost avoidance with fixed rates for services across the board, guaranteed access to care, and enhanced tracking and reporting of non-VA medical care expenditures over traditional non-VA medical care services. For additional information go to www.fbo.gov
VA resumes normal operations after VA announces patient government shutdown
centered care plan
The Department of Veterans Affairs announced today that veterans will have greater access to quality health care through a new initiative: Patient-Centered Community Care (PCCC). “PCCC is an innovative solution that helps VA medical centers continue to provide quality care efficiently,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “This will be a valuable option for VA medical centers to use to expand our veterans’ access to care.” Under PCCC, VA medical centers will have the ability to purchase non-VA medical care for veterans through contracted medical providers when they cannot readily provide the needed care due to geographic inaccessibility or limited capacity. Eligible veterans will have access to inpatient specialty care, outpatient specialty care, mental health care, limited emergency care, and limited newborn care for enrolled female veterans following the birth of a child. “PCCC provides a regional contracting vehicle for VA to work with local community providers to give veterans access to high quality care,” said Dr. Robert Petzel, VA’s Under Secretary for Health. “It will also help VA in our continued efforts to ensure timely and accessible services are provided to veterans for non-VA medical care.” In total, VA awarded two contracts under PCCC, one to Health Net Federal Services LLC and another to TriWest Healthcare Alliance Corp. These companies will set up networks in six regions covering the entire country. VA expects to have these regional contract networks available to its medical centers by the spring of 2014. The awarded contracts, estimated at $9.4 billion, include one base year and four option years.
Employees at the Department of Veterans Affairs are working to resume normal operations as quickly as possible. Veterans Benefits Administration regional offices are re-opening their doors and resuming public contact services for veterans. “With the shutdown over, we are all very grateful that the Nov. 1 benefit checks will go out to approximately 5 million Veterans and other beneficiaries as scheduled,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “We at VA are working quickly to resume normal operations in order to fulfill our solemn obligation – to ensure that veterans receive the benefits and services they have earned through their service. During the government shutdown, VA medical centers, clinics, and other health services remained open. Due to the shutdown, VA claims processors were unable to continue working 20 hours of overtime per month to reduce the backlog of claims, overtime that has helped VA significantly reduce the disability claims backlog by more than 190,000 claims over the last six months. Mandatory overtime will resume immediately and will continue as planned through Nov. 16, at a minimum. “In the coming weeks and months, we will fight hard to regain ground lost as a result of the government shutdown,” said Shinseki. “We remain committed to eliminating the disability claims backlog in 2015.”
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NAS Whidbey earns energy, water award “NAS Whidbey Island is honored to receive this award. It recognizes the sustained efforts of Team Whidbey and demonstrates our commitment as good stewards of the resources entrusted to us.” Capt. Mike Nortier, NAS Whidbey Island commanding officer
By JANIS REID
Whidbey Island Naval Air Station was the recipient of the 2013 Secretary of the Navy Energy and Water Management Gold Recognition award in September. Contributed photo
Members of the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station Navy Energy and Water Management team show of their 2013 Secretary of the Navy Gold Recognition Award.
“NAS Whidbey Island is honored to receive this award. It recognizes the sustained efforts of Team Whidbey and demonstrates our commitment as good stewards of the resources entrusted to us,” said Capt. Mike Nortier, NAS Whidbey Island’s commanding officer.
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The Secretary of the Navy Energy and Water Management awards recognize commands that save the Navy money through conservation and other efforts. NAS Whidbey Island’s program is managed by the Utilities and Energy Management office, which is part of the Naval Facilities Command Northwest energy team. NAVFAC Northwest energy team members are located on each installation where they work hand-in-hand with representatives from each command to reduce energy and water costs. “This is our Fourth Gold award in addition to the five consecutive Platinum awards NAS Whidbey Island earned 2007-2011. This makes nine total awards since 2001. Team Whidbey continues to seek every opportunity to conserve energy and improve efficiency, particularly as we plan for future platforms and missions supported from NAS Whidbey Island,” said Nortier. The Systems Command builds and maintains sustainable facilities, delivers utilities and services, and is charged with the responsibility for developing projects that reduce energy consumption, replace energy inefficient technologies and educate active duty, civilian employees and contractor personnel about energy conservation, throughout the Pacific Northwest.
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NAS Whidbey, along with all Naval installations in the Pacific Northwest received the award, including Kitsap Naval Base. Recognition at this level of excellence includes flying the SECNAV flag for one year and receipt of $45,000. “Bravo Zulu to all of Naval
Base Kitsap for winning the large shore installation SECNAV Energy and Water Management Award and thanks to everyone on base for your daily efforts toward everimproving energy efficiency and water management,” said Capt. Tom Zwolfer, commanding officer of Naval Base Kitsap. Northwest Region energy team members are located on each installation where they work hand-in-hand with each command and where all share the same goal of reducing energy costs of the Navy. Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and and Naval Station Everett also each received SECNAV Gold recognition. “The recognition PSNS & IMF and other Navy commands in our area received is a true testament to the efforts of Naval Facilities Engineering Command Northwest and our other energy partners to identify and implement energy efficiency upgrades,” stated Captain Steve Williamson, commander, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility. “I encourage our work force to seek out energy saving improvements in their work areas and across the Command.” Nava l Faci lities Engineering Command Northwest is the Systems Command that builds and maintains sustainable facilities, delivers utilities and services, and is charged with the responsibility for developing projects that reduce energy consumption, replace energy inefficient technologies and educate active duty, civilian employees and contractor personnel about energy conservation, throughout the Pacific Northwest.
DOD staff unhappy with legislator performance By JANIS REID While Navy veteran Ron Witherall was glad to be back to work at his Department of Defense job at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station Oct. 7, he said he plans to take his opinions about the recent federal government shutdown straight to the polls. “When I vote this time around, if there’s ‘incumbent’ behind your name you’re out, I don’t care if you’re a republican, Tea Party or democrat,” Witherall said. “If you can’t work together in Congress and pass a budget then we need new people that can work together across lines in the sand and get the job done.” Due to Congress’ inability to agree on a national budget, the government effectively shutdown nearly all federal operations Oct. 1. until a short term agreement was reached Oct. 16. The result was the furlough of hundreds of civilian staff at NAS Whidbey and roughly 400,000 nationally, according to reports. At the eleventh hour prior to the government shutdown, Congress passed the Pay Our Military Act, which was later interpreted to include certain members of DOD’s civilian employees who provide support to members of the Armed Forces. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Oct. 5 announced the recall of most of the civilian employees who had been furloughed due to the government shutdown. Many essential federal services island wide were not affected by the shutdown, however, including the U.S. Postal Service, Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare. The federal Women, Infants and Children program or WIC has been funded through the end of October. The furlough was the second in a matter of months for Witherall, a retired Navy chief of 20 years who works in the hazmat center on base. He and roughly 1,200 local DOD employees who were furloughed in July one day-a-week for three
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weeks due to sequestration. For employees like Witherall the furloughs put them in a strange predicament, where they were able to start drawing federal unemployment, but then have to turn around and suspend it. On top of that, now that the retroactive pay legislation has been approved, Witherall will have to pay back any unemployment he may have received. “I’ll pay back my unemployment insurance benefit but who knows,” Witherall said. For that reason he is keeping his unemployment insurance open, he said, until Congress plasses a long-term solution for the country’s budget. The Oct. 16 agreement only funds the country’s budget through mid-January. “Congress is effectively hurting our nation and it looks like it will get worse unless they can finally do their job and pass a budget and keep the nation from going into default,” Witherall said. “I know contractors that work on base that were furloughed and I’m sure they will not get retroactive back-pay. This is just one example of how Congress has effectively hurt our nation. Congress needs to do their job in a timely manner and stop playing this finger pointing game.” Like Witherall, NAS Whidbey computer assistant Kristi Dutton was sent home Tuesday, Oct. 2 after two hours of work. “To put it politely, I was not happy,” Dutton said. “I was as angry and upset as everyone else was. Here we are getting sent home, and all these guys in D.C. are still getting paid.” Dutton echoed Witherall’s sentiment that she feels the country’s current representation is not doing their jobs, and should be voted out of office. “If I was doing a crappy job like them at my job, I’d be fired,” Dutton said. Dutton confirmed Oct. 7 that she was returning to work Oct. 9. However, she said, the week without work created undue
Janis Reid photo
Navy veteran and Department of Defense employee Ron Witherall protests the government furloughs in July. In light of the most recent furlough due to the government shutdown, some are looking to vote out incumbents. stress for her family, particularly after the furlough in July. “You start to get back to a good recovery program, and then they send you home again,” Dutton said. “You think, ‘They’re being nice us, but what’s next.’”
Oak Harbor parade to honor veterans File photos
The second annual Oak Harbor Veterans Day parade to be held 2 p.m. Nov. 9. and is estimated to last 45 minutes to an hour. The parade will proceed west from Midway Blvd along Pioneer Way to Highway 20 ending in front of Ace Hardware. “A Musical Salute to Our Veterans” will be held at 11 a.m., Monday, Nov. 11 at the Oak Harbor High School Performing Arts Center. Capt. Mike Nortier will be the guest speaker.
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Rooks complete Prowler to Growler transition By LT. COREY JONES
The Rooks of Electronic Attack Squadron 137 were recently certified “Safe for Flight” in the EA-18G Growler. The certification, awarded in September, is the culmination of nine months of training in the Navy’s newest electronic attack aircraft. The transition began when the Rooks flew their last EA-6B Prowler from NAS Whidbey Island to NAS Jacksonville, Fla., last December. In January, the training began in earnest, with personnel splitting their training between VFA-106 in NAS Oceana, Va., VFA-122 in Lemoore, Calif., and locally at VAQ-129. The syllabus at VAQ-129 reflects the improved capabilities of the Growler. The training included events that were both familiar and new to previous Prowler aircrews. In addition to various electronic attack missions, the training included all weather intercepts, fighter weapons tactics and basic fighter maneuvering. The crews also trained on employing the AIM-120 advanced medium-range airto-air missile. During the transition, the maintenance department had two major inspections, the Conventional Weapons Technical Proficiency
Inspection and Electronic Attack Wing’s Maintenance Program Assist. The Rooks excelled at both inspections. The weapons training primarily tested the squadron’s ability to correctly handle the Growler’s weapon systems, including AIM-120 AMR AAM, AGM-88 HARM and ALQ-99 Jamming Pods. The Rooks scored an outstanding 167.5 out of 170 on the inspection. The MPA inspection was the final exam for maintenance and again the Rooks showed their exemplary skills and teamwork. “If we look at what this squadron has accomplished during this transitional period, I can say with the utmost confidence that this Rook team has surpassed all expectations and set a whole new standard,” said Ensign Jonathon McGaha, the Rooks’ Maintenance Material Control Officer. “I am extremely proud to be a Rook.” To celebrate the designation, the squadron hosted a picnic on Friday, Sept. 20 that included representatives from CVWP, VAQ129, and Boeing. Capt John P. Springett, Commodore, Electronic Attack Wing Pacific, congratulated the Rooks for their hard work. Boeing presented the Rooks
Rooks of VAQ 137 were awarded their “Safe for Flight” EA-18G Growler certification in September after nine months of traning.
with a flag and aircraft model of a Growler painted with a Rook paint scheme. And to the delight of all attendees, Chief Aviation Machinist’s Mate Ryan Grabner provided a beef brisket that was easily a crowd favorite. The “Safe for Flight” designation is the first step in a long road for the Rooks. Their next deployment is scheduled for early 2015.
Whidbey Island Growler makes emergency landing in Eastern WA By JANIS REID
An EA-18G Growler from Whidbey Island Naval Air Station made an emergency landing in eastern Washington Wednesday, Oct. 9.
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news source iFiberone.com Becken said Moses Lake firefighters responded to the aircraft as soon as it landed, but no fire was detected.
“During a routine training flight, a caution light illuminated in the cockpit of the EA-18G signaling the pilot to make a precautionary landing as soon as possible,” said NAS Whidbey Public Affairs Officer Mike Welding. “The pilot made a safe, normal landing at Grant County Airport in Moses Lake.”
“There is no apparent damage to the aircraft and no injuries to the flight crew,” Welding said. The source of the caution light is being investigated by Navy maintenance personnel who will ensure the aircraft is fully ready before it is returned to its home station at NAS Whidbey Island, Welding said, but there here is no specific timetable for the aircraft’s return.
Greg Becken, port security manager, said the pilot called Moses Lake airport traffic controllers at about 1:03 p.m. and was cleared to make the emergency landing, according to Grant County
“The Navy appreciates the support of the staff at Grant County Airport for their assistance during the precautionary landing and the ongoing maintenance.”
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Pro-OLF petition gains nearly 5,000 signatures By JANIS REID
already-existing online petition.
A hand-written petition supporting the Navy and its touchand-go operations at Outlying Field Coupeville started in August and has gained roughly 4,940 signatures, according to organizer and Navy veteran Mac McDowell. McDowell said that his goal was to reach 5,000, but that the slightly lower number was “good enough.” He said he planned to send the petition to Navy leaders in Washington D.C. by Oct. 18. Recent pro-Navy efforts, which have included an online petition and rallies, are responding to complaints from some Coupeville residents about the noise associated with jet touchand-go landing practices at OLF.
“This is just a snail-mail version,” he said. At press time the internet-based Save OLF Coupeville petition at www.ipetitions.com had 1,620 signatures. McDowell said the most interesting part of his signature gathering has been the feedback he has received from Coupeville residents who live near OLF, but say they aren’t bothered by the noise. “The most satisfying thing was hearing from people from Coupeville that they knew what they were getting, and they don’t mind the noise. It was very eye opening,” McDowell said. “Sometimes I think it’s just Oak Harbor (that supports the Navy) but that’s just not the case.”
The complaints were followed by a federal lawsuit filed by a Coupeville-based citizens group hoping to compel the Navy to complete a new environmental impact study and suspend operations in the meantime. The group’s website is calling for a complete closure and relocation of OLF. Whidbey Island Naval Air Station is in the process of phasing out the EA-6B Prowler and replacing it with the EA-18G Growler, an aircraft the group claims is louder.
Photo by Janis Reid
Navy veteran and former Island County Commissioner Mac McDowell collects signatures at Walmart with Oak Harbor City Councilman Bob Severns in August.
The petition first appeared for signatures at the Aug. 10 car show in Oak Harbor and was available outside of Walmart last weekend. “We want to show our support to the Navy and to OLF and the operations they perform there,” McDowell said. McDowell said his petition is not intended to replace an
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YA R D S A L E ! Q u a l i t y items from A to Z! AnAKC POODLE Standard tique armoire, Broyhill Super sweet puppies, Bedroom Set (6 piece, very intelligent and fami- dark Pine, queen), Igloo l y r a i s e d ! Tw o y e a r dog house, large transit Motorhomes health gauruntee. Adult kennel, sculpture / craft weight between 50 - 55 table, Pottery Barn kitchlbs. Black coloring;2 lit- en items galore, World 1973 DODGE Spor tsFlea Market t e r s 1 5 p u p p i e s Market type decor, and man Viva 20â€™ Class C available. 3 Brown color- lots more miscellaneous! Motorhome, 360 engine, 2 GREAT CHRISTMAS ing. 13 Black coloring. October 25th & 26th from rebuilt, new Edelbrock 4 jerry gifts, smith English chevrolet Saddles! ad:Layout 1Accepting 4/16/12 10:29 Page 1 puppyAMdepos9 am to 4 pm located at b a r r e l c a r b, d u a l ex Leather with pad & girth. its now! $1,000 each. 1 9 8 4 B e a c h w o o d D r. haust. Plenty of power, Very good cond. Both for Please call today 503- Follow the signs on East unleaded. $1,200. 360only $150 360-678-4124 556-4190. www.JerrySmithChevrolet.com 678-6040 evenings Harbor Rd. www.JerrySmithChevrolet.com www.JerrySmithChevrolet.com
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SAMSUNG Heated Floor Mat with Ceramic Tiles. Also used on bed. Queen size, beautiful design. Like new. $150. A K C R E G I S T E R E D 360-682-6366 Oak Har- Puppies. Males and Febor males. Ver y Small Father (3 lbs) and Mother Are On Site. Born and Raised In Our Living Yard and Garden R o o m . Wo r m i n g a n d First Shots Done. Come OAK HARBOR and Be Loved By My LitANTIQUE DINING SET. â€™s tle Babies. Call Anytime, Simply elegant 1930 360-631-6256 or 425German made dining 330-9903 set. Inlay pattern table with 6 chairs, buffet and 100 Yd Quantities hutch. Very good cond! $1,800. Call Amy 425931-1453 email@example.com Firearms & Ammunition
Thereâ€™s aa whole whole lot lotRoy to love love Thereâ€™s to G. Mureno, Jr. at Anytown Anytown Subaru. Subaru. at Fleet Sales/Personal Vehicles ;OLYLÂťZH^OVSLSV[[VSV]LH[ $)&730-&5t37 ;OLYLÂťZH^OVSLSV[[VSV]LH[ 360-707-7939
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COFFEE TABLE. Beautiful Oval Solid Oak Pedestal Table with Scratch Fr e e G l a s s To p . N o Room in New House. First $150 Takes It. 360675-8397 Oak Harbor