Tuesday, October 6, 2009

F-15 flyover of Beaver game spawns heated debate

It seems there's quite a bruhaha developing over a recent Oregon Air National Guard F-15 flyover just before a Beaver game at Reser Stadium in September.

I've done some 'virtual digging', and was able to piece together the progression of discourse on this subject. And rather than weigh in my own personal opinion (that may actually come at a later time), I'll let you take a look through this traffic and formulate your own ideas. (click on the links to see the actual post and the associated comments).

Needless to say, the letters to the editor spawned long threads of commentary, both pro and con. Some of the debate was heated, no doubt. And while there were a lot of great points made, I've clipped just these three main opinion pieces to get you started.

Posted Sept. 22 on the GazetteTimes.com opinion page by Scott Smith of Corvallis:

This is my first football season in Corvallis, after about 10 years living in non-university towns in Oregon. Maybe this is naive on my part, but I was shocked and sickened by the fighter jets flying over Reser (and practically all of Corvallis) this afternoon.

Do we need to spend these thousands of dollars just for a few seconds of boosting the stadium's testosterone level another fraction? Do we really want to celebrate the fact that we've built the most superior tools for killing masses of people instantly from the sky?

There are cheaper ways of making a whole lot of noise for the pregame show; either the athletic department administrators intend to link rooting for OSU with cheering the killing machines, or they have been absolutely careless about their symbols.

In the poorer two-thirds of the world, the sight and sound of the jets mean devastation, loss of family and home.

Enjoy the games, follow the season. But do so as citizens of a wider world, and leave out the militarism.

Scott Smith, Corvallis


Then on Oct. 2, Mel Rydman, a retired Senior Master Sgt. from the Air Force, who now lives in Corvallis had this to say:

I also heard the sound of aircraft over Reser on Saturday. I did not have to turn and look because I knew what it was. It was the "Sound of Freedom" made by F-15 aircraft from the Oregon Air National Guard.

But regarding Scott Smith's Sept. 22 letter, "Lose the fly-over during Beaver football games":

Killing machines? Yes, in a way. Those aircraft were built to intercept and destroy enemy that might try to cause loss of family or home to citizens of the Northwest. For over 50 years, these aircraft and others like them have kept him and his fellow Oregonians safe and secure.

Wasted dollars? Each pilot is required to fly a number of scheduled training flights each month so their skills will always be at the high level needed to complete the unit's mission. Normally these flights are out over the Pacific Ocean where the sounds do not bother us but occasionally they fly them over land.

The pilots, some of them from OSU, fly these "flyovers" at public events to honor military members killed or injured protecting your right to assemble for a football game and live in a peaceful society.

The next time Smith hears that sound, he should bow his head and thank God for these men and women who are serving him.

Mel Rydman, SMS (retired)


And then on Oct. 6, Corvallis resident Harry J. Mallory, opined this tongue-in-cheek response to Mr. Rydman's piece...

Robert Henderson invents a creative reason for why he and other "progressives" should not be subjected to overt displays of pride and patriotism with the event of a single fly-over of Oregon Air Guard F15s at Reser Stadium (Letters, Oct. 2, "Military jet flyover could evoke trauma in some vets").

You see, Henderson was not put off so much by the "ugly display of machismo" and an assumed "slap in the face" toward vaguely identified persons in our community, or the thoughtless "flash of weapons and sounds of war" in "the face of it all." No, no, no. You see, it was about the disrespect shown to veterans who may be suffering from PTSD. That's it. No other pre-loaded ideologically driven doctrine about it. No sir.

Of course it might have been helpful if Mr. Henderson had a single example of a veteran claiming to be traumatized due to this event. So far it seems the only people traumatized by this single fly-over are the so-called progressives.

Harry J. Mallory, Corvallis


Well, there you have it. Feel free to talk amongst yourselves.

Posted by Tech. Sgt. Nick Choy,
Oregon National Guard Social Media Manager

Oh, one more thing... if there's any doubt about the support our Oregon Air Guard pilots have for the Beavers, check this out:

9 comments:

Randy L. Bray said...

I am a retired Master Sergeant also living in Corvallis. I spent an active duty tour in the USAF and then did 21 years with the Oregon Air National Guard, 10 years full time working at Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls. One thing Mr Smith fails to recognize is that his freedom to criticize without retribution is guaranteed him by the people that defend this country, including the F15 pilots that flew over Reser Stadium. I too was there, on the sidelines, doing professional photography for a Beaver Website. I was pleased and proud at the flyover. Mr Smith needs to understand that "Freedom" is NOT free, it was paid for by the blood of veterans, many of whom made the ultimate sacrifice. There's an old quote "I may not agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it" it still rings true today.

Anonymous said...

That's Corvallis resident & (maybe retired?) Guardsman Harry Mallory.

Colby said...

I think SMS Rydman explained it very clearly and succinctly. These pilots fly over Portland about 4 times per day to maintain their training and flight hours. Although they don't conduct low altitude fly-overs, you can clearly hear them - and the sound is distinct. I haven't heard anyone complain about PTSD affected veterans showing concern in Portland. It sounds like some people, like Scott Smith, are just trying to find something to complain about.

As a combat veteran, I am personally touched every time we are honored by a fly-over, cannon salute during the National Anthem, or a rifle salute at a memorial service.

Throughout our country's history, we have always had a military presentation of arms to celebrate our freedom. Yet, our country does not have as many military demonstrations as many other countries around the world. Why should we remove militarism from public displays? Should we go as far as removing the bombs and rockets from the lyrics of our national anthem as well? I think not. I am proud of our independence. I am proud of our freedom. And I am proud of our veterans.

SSG McCormick

Skyryder2000 said...

That pilot's son, nephew, brother, neighbor or friend may have been playing tail back that night, or wide receiver, running back, quarter back. Much drivel, once again, about nothing. I have a music suggestion for ya, haul out the Eagles, "Get Over It" and listen 500 times, really loud.

Scott Hagerman said...

How could anyone not stand behind the people and machines that keep us safe? The display of military reminds me of all the Men and Women who give and have given their lives for us to be free. I stand proud of everything our country does for us and I'm sickened by the thought that this topic even exists. The military exists for us, we would not be here if it wasn't for them!!!

Alex said...

Military service is honorable- in some cases it protects our physical security.

"One thing Mr Smith fails to recognize is that his freedom to criticize without retribution is guaranteed him by the people that defend this country, including the F15 pilots that flew over Reser Stadium."

We were born with inalienable rights.

We do not live under a Totalitarian Regime where Individual Liberty must somehow be enabled by uniformed agents of the government.

We are not wards of the state, or mindless drones- dependent on people in military uniforms in order to think, write and speak.

"Men and Women who give and have given their lives for us to be free."

When we are told our concealed carry permit is void on National Parks lands- can we have The Joint Chiefs of Staff send out "The Troops" to somehow restore our freedom?

If I want to go down to the bar with my 20 year old girlfriend (a responsible adult) to order up a few beers and celebrate freedom should I contact The Joint Chiefs of Staff for authorization?

T said...

FYI...Flyovers are followed by flight training. They are not just flying for the amusement of the crowd. Following the flyover the jets move into a training space and carry on with required training.

SSgt T Jones

T said...

FYI...Flyovers are followed by flight training. They are not just flying for the amusement of the crowd. Following the flyover the jets move into a training space and carry on with required training.

SSgt T Jones

Richard Cranium said...

BLAH BLAH BLAH
To All you HAWKS:
You signed up for service, right?
I DIDN'T ASK YOU TO, and I DON'T NEED YOU TO DEFEND ME! So......
Take your flyovers and shove em up your exhaust! That being said, I LOVE EM! Morons.