By Chad Sokol / The Spokesman-Review
If you ever wanted to know what two Navy aviators were thinking when they drew a giant penis in the sky over northeast Washington, well, the answer is probably what you would expect.
The Navy Times on Monday published a story based on records from the Navy’s investigation into the high jinks of two junior officers based at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.
The phallus appeared in the sky over Okanogan County on Nov. 16, 2017, amusing some onlookers and angering others. It was quickly identified as the work of an EA-18G Growler from Whidbey Island’s Electronic Attack Squadron. The two officers had just completed a routine training exercise, and the white contrails behind their jet were especially vivid on that clear afternoon.
The Navy Times, which obtained transcripts of their recorded midair conversation, reported that an electronic warfare officer with a shining performance record broached the idea first.
“Draw a giant penis,” the officer told the pilot, according to the Navy Times. “That would be awesome.”
“My initial reaction was no, bad,” the pilot wrote in a statement after the incident. “But for some reason still unknown to me, I eventually decided to do it.”
In lewd detail, the pair chatted about the proportions of their creation and mused that commercial airliners and a Chinese weather satellite might catch a glimpse of it.
According to the Navy Times, they hadn’t expected the contrails to linger long enough to complete the sophomoric picture. And when it was finished, they seemed to realize their artistic endeavor probably wasn’t the best use of a $67 million government vehicle.
“I remarked that we needed to take steps to try to obfuscate it,” the pilot wrote, according to the Navy Times. “I flew one pass over it essentially trying to scribble it out with my contrails. That pass was ineffective.”
Fuel was running low, and the pair returned to the base. Within hours they heard from a commander, and they immediately confessed. An investigating officer wrote that the stunt had “caused the United States Navy severe embarrassment in the public arena and jeopardizes the strategic narrative that underpins the justification of the flight hour program.”
But, according to the Navy Times, the command staff and other squadron members seemed to agree it was an isolated incident.
“They 100% need to be held accountable, but if they are allowed to continue in naval aviation this is not a mistake they will repeat,” an executive officer wrote. “Minus the current circumstances, they have never given me a reason to doubt their trustworthiness or their resolve to be officers in the Navy.”
It’s unclear how the daring sky writers were disciplined, though the investigating officer ultimately recommended “non-punitive letters of instruction,” according to the Navy Times.