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Whidbey Crosswind The Puget Sound Veterans’ Monthly | April 2019

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Everett man recalls service on icebreaker By JULIE MUHLSTEIN Herald Writer

Ship’s log, Jan. 1, 1971: “Never realized why people come to one of the most barren regions of the earth until this very moment. It’s night, but the sun refuses to leave us. My eyes gaze upon majestic mountains rising 7,500 feet straight up from the water’s edge, covered with ice and snow.” Dennis Boblet was a 21-year-old seaman aboard the U.S. Coast Guard’s Staten Island icebreaker when the officer on watch wrote that log entry, including a cheery “Happy New Year’s.” Boblet, who lives near Everett’s Silver Lake, is 70. It’s been nearly a half-century since his voyage to Antarctica, but memories of that singular experience haven’t faded. “It’s been a part of me,” Boblet said. He recently talked about the long-ago mission to crack through thick ice, opening a channel in the Antarctic waters of McMurdo Sound. He remembers a cold, clear Southern Hemisphere summer, and time spent sitting out on the ship’s bridge wing. He can’t forget what he describes as the “squeezing, scraping” sound of the ship breaking through ice. Boblet’s vessel, the Staten Island, was decommissioned in 1974 and sold for scrap. Yet for the Coast Guard, annual operations in Antarctica continue to this day. The Polar Star, the nation’s only heavy icebreaker, returned to its homeport of Seattle recently. With a 150-member crew, its homecoming completed a 105-day deployment to Antarctica in

support of Operation Deep Freeze. The annual mission supports the National Science Foundation, lead agency for the United States Antarctic Program. That program — which includes conducting research and fostering international cooperation — bolsters U.S. goals as part of the Antarctic Treaty, signed by 12 nations in 1959.

“It’s the only continent in the world where the countries live together in peace,” Boblet said. In McMurdo Sound this year, the Polar Star broke through 16.5 nautical miles of ice, up to 10 feet thick, to open a channel to the McMurdo Station pier, according to a press release from the U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area. McMurdo Station is the main U.S. hub in Antarctica. Without the icebreaker clearing the way and acting as an escort Jan. 30, the Ocean Giant container ship couldn’t have delivered 10 million pounds of supplies needed for McMurdo Station, Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station and other U.S. sites. The U.S. Navy contracts with the cargo vessel. Boblet hasn’t kept in touch with former Coasties from the Staten Island, but hopes to hear from anyone who served on the ship. The 1967 Cascade High School graduate was facing the draft in 1968, the deadliest year for the United States in the Vietnam War. A hernia kept him from being drafted, but after it was fixed he enlisted in the Coast Guard in 1969. He was 20 when he finished 10 weeks of boot camp at Alameda, California. Before the mission to Antarctica, he

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The Coast Guard’s Staten Island icebreaker was decommissioned in 1974. Everett’s Dennis Boblet was aboard the ship in 1970-71 in Antarctica. voyaged on the Staten Island to the Arctic Ocean in 1969. That trip involved oceanography and “spying on the Russians,” he said. Also in 1969, he was aboard the Staten Island when it escorted the tanker SS Manhattan through the Northwest Passage. From New York, Boblet and the crew came home to Seattle by way of the Panama Canal. He joked about major happenings he missed by being at sea in ‘69 — from Neil Armstrong walking on the moon and the Woodstock music festival to the “Miracle Mets” winning the World Series. Boblet, who served four years in the Coast Guard, worked at Boeing and later in

landscaping. For his final 18 months in the service, he was based close to home — on the 82-foot cutter Point Duran, which was moored near the old Everett Yacht Club. The Coast Guard noted that the United States maintains just two icebreakers, the 43-year-old Polar Star and the Healy, a medium icebreaker. In contrast, it said, Russia operates more than 50 icebreakers, some nuclearpowered. Boblet said the Staten Island was one of several Wind-class icebreakers. He’d like to see the Coast Guard equipped with more today. And he has another idea. “I think we ought to bring the icebreakers to Everett,” Boblet said.

Dan Bates / The Herald

Dennis Boblet shares memories of his Coast Guard service aboard the icebreaker Staten Island.

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From garage to global

Retired chief’s business awarded for energy savings By LAURA GUIDO lguido@whidbeynewsgroup.com

A

n Oak Harbor businessman’s international efforts to save on energy costs and the environment began in Oak Harbor.

In his spare time, he worked in his garage trying to perfect methods for energy conservation using technology already available. He settled on an integrated heating, cooling and lighting system to increase energy efficiency. Essentially, he wanted to take the human error out of energy consumption.

“The solution came out of many years of testing in my garage,” Rick Rennes said. The local business owner and retired chief petty officer was recently recognized in Trinidad and Tobago for his work in energy management. He said his upbringing in the Caribbean inspired him to pursue the field. He witnessed both a need for less expensive energy and practices to reduce the use of fossil fuels. Growing up, he had limited access to computers, but technology always sparked a strong interest in him. Despite his limited experience, Rennes scored highly in aptitude tests related to technology when he joined the Navy in the late 1980s. He went on to work in IT, data processing and intelligence for 11 years until he left the service in 1997. He and his wife Louann decided to settle in the city of his last duty station, Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. In 2001, he began Network Solutions+, which offers IT support to local businesses.

Occupancy and daylight sensors automatically turn on the lights and adjust their brightness. The heating and cooling system also uses the sensors to switch on when people enter the room or off when they leave and use temperature monitors to establish how much hot or cold air should be used to keep the room comfortable, he said. He said the system adjusts on a “minute-by-minute” basis. “The buildings run autonomously,” Rennes said. “It guarantees no one forgets to turn off the AC or the lights.” His company, Information Technology Energy Management (ITEM), made such a significant difference for one of its Caribbean clients that the Energy Chamber of Trinidad and Tobago awarded it the “Best Green House Gas Reduction Project.” “And we expect to win again in 2019,” he said. The award highlighted ITEM’s work with a large insurance company that had resulted in a $1-million decrease in energy expenses during 2018, Rennes said. The integration of the company’s lighting and air conditioning services also resulted in an estimated reduction of 250 tons of carbon over six months, he said.

Photo by Laura Guido / Whidbey News Group

Rick Rennes, a former Navy man, started his technology company at his home in Oak Harbor. After perfecting his methods in the Caribbean, Rennes brought his company’s operations to Washington state in 2015. In his Oak Harbor office, the technology is on display for both office and home environments. He has lights that are controlled either from a smart phone or a smart speaker — meaning Siri or Alexa can turn on, off or dim the lights.

All of the items are wireless and can be installed anywhere. He said at home, the technology proves useful “because kids never remember to turn off the lights.”

The smart technology can also control the blinds and light fixtures, which will adjust depending on how much natural light enters or leaves the room and what the user’s preferences are, he said.

Rennes said he and his wife have enjoyed living in Oak Harbor since his departure from the Navy.

In addition to his work in eight countries in the Caribbean, Rennes has offered his services to local offices, such as Coldwell Banker Koetje Real Estate.

“It was a great place to raise a family,” he said.

His five children went through the public school system in the city. And his oldest, who is a senior at the University of Washington, is being “groomed” to eventually take over the family business when he retires. For now, Rennes said he’s looking at ways he can adapt new technology and methods into his system. He’s currently interested in the possibilities artificial intelligence presents. “We don’t know how yet, but I’m going back to my garage,” Rennes said.”Great things happen in the garage.”

Three ways military families and veterans can stretch their budgets “How can we make our money go further?” The eternal question being asked by families everywhere, every day. While military families are no strangers to the same budgeting dilemmas as everyone else, there are plenty of ways that servicemen and women, veterans and their families, can

stretch their dollars. Bank Smart Think before you bank. Does your bank make it easy to conduct transactions overseas? Does it have specially trained staff familiar with military and veteran home lending opportunities? Does

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Your money will go further when you select a bank that understands the needs of active duty service members, veterans and their families. What’s more, when you need a loan, shop around and thoroughly research special mili-

Military families know the importance of staying connected. But all that video calling and photo sharing can be pricey if you’re paying for hefty data bundles and cell

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phone plans. Instead, opt for a wireless provider that offers great deals for veterans, service members and their families. T-Mobile ONE Military, for example, offers unlimited talk, text and data. Leverage tax breaks One of the largest financial

benefits of military service are the tax breaks. Make sure you leverage all the tax breaks available to you and your family — from exclusions offered to those serving in combat zones to moving expense deductions to job search cost deductions when you re-enter civilian life.

VOL. 9, NO. 3 WHIDBEY CROSSWIND STAFF Executive Editor & Publisher ..............................KEVEN R. GRAVES Associate Publisher ...................................... KIMBERLLY WINJUM Editor ...............................................................JESSIE STENSLAND Reporters .. LAURA GUIDO, PATRICIA GUTHRIE, MARIA MATSON

Admin/Production Manager ............................JENNIFER WILKINS Advertising Sales .................... NORA DURAND, JACY ANDERSON Circulation Manager ...........................................DIANE SMOTHERS

IDENTIFICATION STATEMENT AND SUBSCRIPTION RATES PO Box 1200 | 107 S Main St, Suite E101, Coupeville, WA 98239 360-675-6611 | fax 360-679-2695 | www.whidbeycrosswind.com The Whidbey Crosswind is published monthly by Sound Publishing on the last Friday of every month. Mailed subscription available for $20 per year. Payment in advance is required. Periodicals rate postage paid at Coupeville, WA and at additional mailing offices. Copyright © 2019, Sound Publishing

READER INFORMATION: ADMINISTRATIVE: The Whidbey Crosswind is a monthly publication of Sound Publishing, and is a member of the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association, the National Newspaper Association and Suburban Newspapers of America. Advertising rates are available at the Crosswind office. While the Crosswind endeavors to accept only reliable advertisements, it shall not be responsible to the public for advertisements nor are the views expressed in those advertisements necessarily those of the Whidbey Crosswind. The right to decline or discontinue any ad without explanation is reserved. DEADLINES: Classifieds and Display Ads – 4 p.m. Friday prior to publication; Community News and Letters to Editor – Noon Monday prior to publication. ADVERTISING SUPPLEMENTS: ARMED FORCES COMMUNITY


Catholic services end on base after 77 years Navy, Archdiocese point to a shortage of priests By JESSIE STENSLAND

jstensland@whidbeynewsgroup.com

Members of the Catholic congregation at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island say they are heartbroken that services will end after 77 years. “My daughter received her first Holy Communion there and I was hoping my younger son would as well, but now that is no longer possible,” April Allen said. “I will miss the kindness and understanding of the community, where support is given to those who serve our country.” The Archdiocese for the Military Services and the Navy recently announced that services will no longer be held at the base chapel because a willing priest couldn’t be found. The chapel hasn’t had a priest since Nov. 1. In a statement, the base pointed to the nationwide shortage of priests. Dan Olvera, a retired Navy man, said many in the congregation of about 200 feel abandoned by the decision makers. He’s been part of the congregation for more than 20 years. “Most of us feel they have not done all they could to find a priest,” he said, adding that quitting the search is just the easy choice.

unable to find a priest willing and able to fulfill that contract,” the Navy’s statement said, “and due to a significant shortage of Catholic priests nationwide, we do not expect to see an (active duty) Catholic priest assigned to the base for the foreseeable future.” A decline in the number of men entering the priesthood has led to a priest shortage, with fewer men entering the priesthood than retiring, according to the Los Angeles Times. Pope Francis has cited demographic changes, scandals in the church and cultural trends as reasons for the shortage. The Navy said that it has worked with the Archdiocese for Military Services to ensure that the Catholic parishioners are provided care by civilian churches. There are four Catholic churches within a 45-minute drive of the base chapel, including St. Augustine in Oak Harbor. In addition, the Navy pointed out that there are four other chaplains on base who will continue provide a wide-range of family support services to all denominations and faiths.

The Navy explained that the base operated under a contract to provide Catholic service since 2004. The contract was intended to serve as a “stop gap” only until an active-duty priest could be found, but the contract endured for 15 years.

Parishioner Elaine Morgan, however, said her family moved 17 times when her husband was active duty. They often felt unwelcome in community parishes when there was no chapel on base because people knew Navy families wouldn’t be there more than a few years.

“Unfortunately, we are

“It was always a comfort to

Photo submitted

Members of the Catholic church at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island take part in Ash Wednesday. find a Catholic community on the military base,” she said. “We know this is also true for active duty families today.” Morgan also said she’s concerned for people who live on base and have no transportation.

Also, the Catholic Navy community shares a special kinship, he said. For the last

40 years, the parishioners hosted “Barrack Dinners” for the sailors.

“I’m still praying for a miracle that our church will reopen,” she said.

Allen still has hope.

Erlinda Signo-Warren said her family had been parishioners since 1985. She agreed that sailors need a spiritual home on base. “These sailors need to have a spiritual leader for them to come to when they need blessings, counseling and guidance,” she said. Olvera said the base church provided a unique service to active-duty military members and civilian churches may not have the flexibility for mili-

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Rear Adm. Scott Gray discusses Growlers, community relations By JEANNIE MCMACKEN Peninsula Daily News

“Look at this view, there isn’t any place better,” U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Scott Gray, commander of the Northwest region, remarked as he stood on the deck of the Northwest Maritime Center in Port Townsend. He could see Naval Magazine Indian Island and Whidbey Island, home to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island Ault Field in Oak Harbor and Outlying Field in Coupeville, as well as Mount Rainier on a March afternoon. Gray was in town recently to talk about the Navy’s mission, Northwest Washington and how he sees the Navy’s role. He defended the Navy’s controversial decision to add 36 EA-18G Growler aircraft to its current fleet of 82 to train at Naval Air Station

Whidbey Island, a decision that also increased landing practice at the Outlying Landing Field in Coupeville, just across Admiralty Inlet from Port Townsend.

Wooden Boat Festival and other events. We live in the community too and want to be a good neighbor.” Gray’s command covers 11 western states: Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa and Alaska.

“We’ve done a lot to quiet the Growlers,” Gray said. “We’ve spent a lot of money on technology and put in a lot of effort to reduce the number of airplanes to the minimum.

He’s based at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor for the next 16 months but calls Virginia home. He began his commission in 1989 and during his service logged more than 500 carrier- arrested landings and 2,800 flight hours in tactical aircraft. He assumed his duties as commander of the Northwest region in June, 2018.

“We’re mitigating that noise as much as possible. “Landing on an aircraft carrier is the single most challenging environment any pilot will ever operate in. People die if we don’t practice. “I know, I buried my roommates.” He said that the Navy will “fly different patterns to try and avoid certain areas. We work with local communities to do everything we can

Jeannie McMacken/Peninsula Daily News

The Northwest Maritime Center’s Jake Beattie talks with Navy Rear Adm. Scott Gray, commander of the Northwest Region, about a new high school program planned for fall. to help. Gray said the commanding officer of Whidbey Island

is engaged with the community. “If Port Townsend has

a big event, have them talk to the CO,” Gray said. “We will try to accommodate the

“I tell people the country’s been through tremendous growth and prosperity since World War II,” Gray said. “We say we deter those who would like to do us harm.” Gray said the Navy wants

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to be a good neighbor. He has been talking with Jefferson County officials about possible partnerships. One such instance could be the wastewater treatment plant the county plans in Port Hadlock. “I operate a wastewater treatment plant on Indian Island. It’s old,” he said. If an analysis shows it’s more advantageous “to close down my plant and not invest the money to keep it up or modernize it to the new standard, then I can hook to yours and pay you to process our wastewater,” he said.. “That gives you a larger customer base and you could amortize it. It will save me money. To upgrade ours will cost $20-30 million. If I can pay you, I get out of a business I don’t want to be in and it helps you and lowers the rate your citizens will pay. “All we need to do to put in a sewer line. It’s possible.” Electromagnetic warfare, which received final approval

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in 2017, is ongoing on the West End, he said. Trucks on National Forest Service Roads emit signals for pilots to practice locating. “In order for the Growlers to train, that’s what they do, they jam radar.” he said. ”In order to do that, two trucks drive out into the forest and park a hundred miles apart. At a certain time, they’ll turn on their signals. The Growlers fly over at 20,000 feet and look to locate those signals. That’s their training to do their job of electronic

surveillance and jam the signal. Then the trucks turn the signal off and drive home.” Gray said that the state has licensed owners of cell towers and other radio signals that “emit much more energy than anything that our walkie-talkie type signal is emitting.” He said that some complaints about Navy jet noise on the Olympic Peninsula are received on days pilots aren’t flying in the region. Gray said the Navy’s $2.6

million Maritime Force Protection Unit pier and support complex at the tip of Ediz Hook, which opened in September, is working out as expected. “The pier is designed to be a place where they can pull in and spend the night, refuel their boats and get some rest. It was really an effort to minimize stressors on the crew so they don’t have to work 18 hour days to accomplish the mission.”

Jeannie McMacken/ Peninsula Daily News

Rear Adm. Scott Gray meets with Jefferson County Commissioner Kate Dean and County Administrator Philip Morley to discuss the impacts NAS Whidbey Island operations have on Jefferson County.

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NAS Whidbey SAR rescues snowmobilers, transports patients A Search and Rescue team from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island conducted rescues and medical evacuations in recent weeks. On Feb. 17, the team rescued two snowmobilers during two separate incidents near Mount Baker. At approximately noon, an SAR team was notified of a 39-year-old man who had suffered a broken leg while snowmobiling at Schreiber’s Meadow just south of Mount

Baker. Since no civilian assets were available, the SAR team launched at approximately 1 p.m. to conduct the rescue. Once located, the patient was hoisted aboard the helicopter and transported to PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center in Bellingham, where the team landed by about 2 p.m. As crew members were transferring the patient at the hospital, they were alerted to another snowmobiler in Schreiber’s Meadow with a

broken leg, this time a 45-yearold man. The SAR team returned to NAS Whidbey Island for refueling then flew back to Schreiber’s Meadow. At about 3:40 p.m., the team found the patient at a location less than a mile from where the first patient had been found.

conducted a medical evacuation from Forks, Wash.

The second patient was hoisted aboard the helicopter and flown to PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center, where they landed by 4:20 p.m.

The SAR unit was contacted at approximately 5:15 a.m. to medevac a woman from Forks after it was determined no civilian rescue services were available. The SAR helicopter launched and by 7:20 a.m. the patient was loaded onto the helicopter in Forks and flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where the team landed at 8 a.m.

On Feb. 25, an SAR team

On March 8, an SAR team

responded to a call that came after 6 a.m. to pick up a 94-yearold female patient suffering from heart problems on Lopez Island. By approximately 7:15 a.m., the team landed at Lopez Island Airport, where the patient was transferred from an ambulance to the helicopter. The team transported the patient to PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center in Bellingham, landing just before 8 a.m. to transfer her to higher care. The Navy SAR unit operates three MH-60S helicopters

from NAS Whidbey Island as search and rescue/medical evacuation platforms for the EA-18G aircraft as well as other squadrons and personnel assigned to the installation. Pursuant to the National SAR Plan of the United States, the unit may also be used for civilian SAR and medevac needs to the fullest extent practicable on a non-interference basis with primary military duties, according to applicable national directives, plans, guidelines and agreements.

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360-321-4457

at Useless Bay Rd

Sunday Service Times 8:30 & 10:30 AM

360-221-1220 • Langley

South Whidbey Church of Christ

Teaching through God’s Word

360-579-2570 3821 E. French Road, Clinton

“Loving Christ and Others Well”

www.ccwhidbey.com Sunday Services 9 & 11AM

Sunday Worship 10:30AM www.islandchurchofwhidbey.org

Masses: Saturday 5:00pm Sunday 8:00am and 10:30am Mon, Tues, Thurs and Fri. 8:15am Wednesday 10:30am Fr. Rick Spicer, pastor E-mail sthubert@whidbey.com www.sthubertchurch.org

5671 Crawford Rd, in Langley, just off Hwy 525 www.unityofwhidbey.org We welcome you to our Sunday Worship Celebration at 10AM. Potluck on the first Sunday of the month. While Unity is considered practical Christianity, we embrace many of the sacred teachings throughout the world. Join us for supportive and inclusive spiritual community.

Oak Harbor Lutheran Church

NW 2nd Avenue & Heller Road Across the street from OHHS Stadium

Worship Services..........8 & 10:30 am Sunday School ........................9:15 am Nursery Available Sunday Evening Prayer 6:30 PM at St. Mary Catholic Church in Coupeville Jeffrey Spencer, Lead Pastor Pastor Marc Stroud, Associate Pastor

360-679-1561

oakharborlutheran.org

Langley United Methodist Church Sunday Service 9:30am

Nursery and Sunday School during service Adult Forum 11am Rev. Mary Boyd, Pastor

www.langleyumc.org

360-221-4233 3rd & Anthes lumc@whidbey.com

CALVARY APOSTOLIC TABERNACLE (The Pentecostals of Island County)

Located on Goldie Road

SOULS HARBOR

Saturday Worship 11am Bible Study 10am Find Respect, Honor, Friendship

A SAFE PLACE TO CALL HOME Sunday Morning................10am Sunday Evening.............6:30pm Wednesday...........................7pm

360-632-7243

Go to 31830 State Rt. 20

Pastor Greg Adkins

FIRST CHURCH I John 4:16

OF

LIVING WORD oak harbor foursquare LIVING WORD 490 NW Crosby Ave oak harbor foursquare Oak Harbor

490 NW Crosby Ave 675.5008 Oak Harbor www.livingwordoakharbor.com Sunday675.5008 Service Times: www.livingwordoakharbor.com 8am 9:30am 11am

Sunday Service Times: (Living Word Kids all services: Middle School Service: 3 months - 5th at Grade) Wednesday’s 6pm 8am 9:30am 11am (Living Word Kids all services: Youth Group Sunday Evenings: 3 monthsSchool - 5th Grade) Middle 4pm YouthHigh Group Sunday6pm Evenings: School Middle School 4pm High School 6pm

Sunday Service: 10:30am Children, Youth, & Adults

1780 SE 4th St. (360) 675-3032

CHRIST, SCIENTIST

Sunday Service and Sunday School 10 a.m. Wednesday Testimony Meeting 2:30 p.m. Christian Science Reading Room

Tuesday and Friday 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. 721 SW 20th Ct at SW Scenic Heights St 360-675-0621. csrroh@comcast.net

Worship Hours: Worship Service: 10:00am Contemporary Service: 1:30pm Children’s Sunday School 10:30am Everyone is welcome. Come join us! Youth Ministries-Choirs-Bible Studies Pastor David Parker ...................................................................... Pastor Erin Tombaugh....... ....................................... Young People’s Ministries Christina Queeno ................................................ Music & Worship Arts

360-675-2441 • 1050 SE Ireland St, OH • oakharborfumc.org Like us on Facebook @OakHarborFUMC @OHFUMCyouth

Trinity Lutheran Church ELCA Freeland, Washington Worship Sundays 8:00, 9:30 & 11:00 Sunday School & Adult Education 9:30 Nursery Care Provided trinitylutheranfreeland.org listen to our sermons on facebook

Coupeville United Methodist Church 10:00 Sunday School 11:00 Worship Service Free child care available

Pastor Jin Ming Ma 608 N. Main St. • 360-678-4256


Navy releases record of decision on Growlers After carefully weighing the strategic, operational, and environmental consequences of the proposed action analyzed in the Growler Final Environmental Impact Statement, the Navy has made the decision to implement Alternative 2A (the preferred alternative), which adds 36 EA-18G operational aircraft at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, stations additional personnel and their family members at the NAS Whidbey Island complex and in the surrounding community, constructs and renovates facilities at Ault Field, increases airfield operations at both Ault Field and Outlying Landing Field Coupeville and changes the distribution of field carrier landing practice to 20 percent occurring at Ault Field and 80 percent occurring at OLF Coupeville. This decision does not change the continuation of airfield operations of other aircraft (including P-8A, P-3C, EP-3, MH-60 and transients) operating from the NAS Whidbey Island complex. The proposed action will enable the Navy to augment its existing electronic attack community at NAS Whidbey Island complex with additional aircraft in order to provide combatant commanders with expanded electronic attack capabilities to support our national defense requirements consistent with the Navy’s responsibilities under Title

10, United States Code (U.S.C), Section 8062. In selecting this action alternative, the Navy carefully considered a number of factors, including the strategic and operational importance of augmenting our nation’s electronic attack capabilities, ensuring quality of pilot training, and balancing the impacts of the proposed action on the human and natural environment. Of the 15 combinations of alternatives and scenarios analyzed in the Final EIS, Alternative 2A impacts fewer people overall living in the surrounding communities — only four more than Alternative 3A (fewest) and 567 fewer than Alternative 1E (greatest) based on estimated number of people living within the 65 dB DNL or greater noise contour. The preferred alternative places the majority of FCLP operations at OLF Coupeville because OLF Coupeville provides more realistic training for our aviators. OLF Coupeville has been continuously used for FCLP since the late 1960s. OLF Coupeville’s pattern best replicates the aircraft carrier landing pattern, building and reinforcing the correct habits and muscle memory for pilots. OLF Coupeville sits on a 200-foot ridge surrounded by flat terrain, similar to the aircraft carrier operating on the water. Unlike OLF Coupeville, Ault Field sits in a valley surrounded

each airfield “operation” is defined as either a takeoff or landing under this scenario, about 12,000 FCLP “passes” would occur annually at OLF Coupeville. This change amounts to an increase from approximately 90 hours (1 percent of total hours per year) to 360 hours (4 percent of total hours per year) in aircraft activity at OLF Coupeville.

An EA-18G Growler pilot practices aircraft carrier landings at Outlying Field Coupeville.

Operational levels at Ault Field and OLF Coupeville have varied historically depending on Navy mission requirements. Projected operational levels from implementation of Alternative 2A will be comparable to historic flight operations experienced from the 1970s through the 1990s at NAS Whidbey Island complex.

by higher terrain, limiting pattern options and providing a visual picture unlike conditions at sea. The City of Oak Harbor and Ault Field both have artificial lighting and visual cues not experienced by pilots at sea. Furthermore, Ault Field is a busy, multi-mission airfield. FCLP at Ault Field often disrupts departures and arrivals of other aircraft not participating in FCLP; this disruption results in extended flight tracks and longer hours of operation which in turn affect more residents overall living in the community. Due to the recent addition of three more Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance squadrons to NAS Whidbey Island

The implementation of Alternative 2A will include measures that reduce noise impacts in the community, including the mitigation measures identified in Appendix H of the Final EIS and the use of Precision Landing Mode (PLM, a.k.a. MAGIC CARPET) to reduce the overall number of FCLPs compared to the number proposed in the Draft EIS. The Navy will continue to invest in new technologies to reduce aircraft engine noise. The Navy has and will continue to coordinate with appropriate federal regulatory and state resource agencies and comply with appropriate permits and reporting requirements.

operating the P-8 Poseidon, which is replacing the P-3 Orion, Ault Field has less ability to absorb these disruptions. Under Alternative 2A, annual airfield operations at the NAS Whidbey Island complex will increase up to 33 percent over the No Action Alternative, for an estimated total of 112,100 operations annually, including 88,000 operations at Ault Field and 24,100 operations at OLF Coupeville. Because FCLPs involve both a takeoff and a landing, and because each takeoff and each landing are counted as a single operation, the projected total of FCLPs at OLF Coupeville is 12,000. Since

BRUCE A. BELL Forestry Mulching It took about five minutes. Five minutes and the machine cleared a 50-foot by 20-foot wall of manhigh black berry bushes and small trees. All that was left was a layer of mulch. “You can’t beat that,” laughed Clinton property owner Troy Yale. “I was going to do it myself; it probably would have taken me a week.”

Yale hired landscaper Bruce Bell to clear a few acres of his rural property off French Road. Like many parcels on Whidbey, it’s overrun with heavy brush and invasive species, including blackberries. He wanted them gone but didn’t want to overly tear up the property either. Bell was a natural choice.

The South Whidbey business owner has earned a reputation for “green” land-clearing practices, specifically with his forestry mulching machine. Attached to a rubber-tracked loader, the device resembles a street sweeper but behaves like a lawn mower on steroids. Its large steel teeth make short work of brush and trees up to 12 inches thick, yet the machine is still small enough to weave in and out of heavily forested areas. What’s left behind is a mulch that can be as fine as “sawdust,” Bell said. The machine is an alternative to heavy machinery that can do a similar job but at a heavier

environmental price — usually the removal of a top layer of soil — and without the clean up. After clearing, property owners usually have to pay for removal of debris and or burning. The forestry mulching machine requires neither.

“You’re getting the best of both worlds,” Bell said.

Goats are the super-green method of property clearing, one that many on Whidbey have turned to. But these living, breathing munching machines can’t take down larger trees, and their work takes time. Bell says he can usually clear an acre in about two hours. Bell set up shop in 1994 after a long career in retail sales. He bought the forestry mulching machine about 12 years ago as way to break into the clearing business, but doing it in what he says is a more environmentally friendly way. “It’s really important to me to better Whidbey Island,” he said.

While private property owners make up the bulk of his business, he’s also been employed by organizations such as the Whidbey Camano Land Trust. Jessica Larson, a land steward for the nonprofit, said Bell was hired to clear about five acres for the Dugualla Bay restoration project on North Whidbey and about three acres for restoration of the Waterman Property on South Whidbey.

Larson said Bell’s work was desirable for several reasons. Saving a layer of top soil and avoiding the need to burn aligns with the trust’s environmental values. Similarly, the machine is small enough that it can avoid native species; Bell took the time to walk through the properties with land trust project leaders to mark plants that should be spared. The result was successful, selective clearing.

Larson also noted that blackberries are no fun, not for the organization volunteers who often are tasked with their removal, or herself. It’s tough and grueling working that takes a long time.

“They’re kinda the bane of my existence,” Larson said with a chuckle. Along with the forestry mulching machine, Bell also has a flail mower on an excavator that produces a similar result. It’s attached to an extendable arm that can reach places the forestry mulching machine can’t, such as steep inclines or slippery hillsides. Bell’s business is based in Freeland, but he does work all over Whidbey Island. He can be reached at 360-331-6254.

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Maytag Aircraft, a defe n s e c o n t r a c t o r i s seeking a person with significant, specialized commercial or military experience in fuel terminal operations and maintenance performing and super vising tasks equivalent to an AF Fuels Management seven skill level (2F071) or nine-skill level (2F091) personnel. This experience shall include receiving, storing, issuing, and shipping petroleum products via tank truck, pipeline, rail, or tanker/barge as appropriate to the installation’s mode of receipt capability and maintenance and repair of bulk petroleum storage t e r m i n a l s, s y s t e m s, and equipment. Must h ave a m i n i mu m o f five (5) collective years of experience in petroleum storage and distribution operations, airfield fuel services, and fuel systems maintenance. At least two (2) years should have been at a supervisory level of service within the five (5) year period. Military service rank of E-7 or above is preferred. Serious candidates email your resume to: phains@maytag aircraft.com or visit our website at: www.maytagaircraft.com

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Whidbey Crosswind, March 29, 2019  

March 29, 2019 edition of the Whidbey Crosswind

Whidbey Crosswind, March 29, 2019  

March 29, 2019 edition of the Whidbey Crosswind