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Marines getting an earful over jet noise

  • COURTESY U.S. MARINE CORPS
    A pair of F/A-18 Hornets attached to the Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 224 "Fighting Bengals" of Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C., took off from Marine Corps Air Station Hawaii yesterday to support Rim of the Pacific exercises. An additional 10 aircraft from the squadron are here to support RIMPAC 2010 before deploying to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan.
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Flights by mainland F/A-18 fighter aircraft out of Kaneohe Bay for Rim of the Pacific naval exercises have some nearby residents on edge over what they say is excessive or late-night jet noise.

Kaneohe resident Walter Wright said in a letter to the editor to the Star-Advertiser that he respects the military and its mission, but the noise created by an assortment of RIMPAC aircraft is "maddening."

Wright said people should call the Marine Corps base and mayor’s office with complaints.

"If Windward residents do not complain resoundingly about this degradation of the peace and quiet of Kaneohe and Kailua bays and their shorelines and surrounding communities, you can be assured the base will assume no one cares," Wright said.

The Marine Corps base said area residents will continue to hear more jet noise tonight and tomorrow night. Nighttime flight operations are not expected after tomorrow.

Marine Corps spokesman Maj. Alan Crouch said yesterday that he had fielded about a half-dozen complaints, mainly about nighttime RIMPAC flying.

"We appreciate the community’s understanding that this training is extremely important and that it doesn’t occur very often," Crouch said. "The role these Marine flyers play in support of ground troops is critical to the preparation of the Marines’ mission."

A dozen F/A-18 Hornet fighter and attack aircraft from Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C., are supporting ground-unit training at Pohakuloa Training Area on the Big Island, the Marines said.

The flights are expected to be finished between about 11 p.m. and midnight tonight and tomorrow, according to the Marines. The jets landed at 12:30 yesterday morning, Crouch said.

Janine Tully, a Kaneohe resident for 35 years, said she called the Marine Corps base to complain after jets roared by at 1 a.m. and 2:15 a.m. on Sunday and Monday.

"It’s pretty bad. The house rattles," she said.

The noise affects residents all along the Kaneohe Bay shoreline, she said. Tully added that she understands the importance of RIMPAC for training. She also thinks the Marines could make more of an effort to inform residents and stop flying by midnight.

David Kim, a former Air Force pilot who lives along the Kaneohe Bay shoreline, said he can live with the daytime operations and that he too supports the training, but the midnight to 2 a.m. flights are a different matter.

"It wakes you up in the middle of the night," Kim said.

Kim said the Hornets sometimes fly over land and residences in a wider arc as they return to the Kaneohe airfield, creating more noise.

Crouch said the jets on occasion overfly the shoreline in what is called "extending the downwind" to allow for more separation on approach between the landing aircraft.

For questions or concerns, contact the Marine Corps public affairs office at 257-8840.

 

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