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On Whidbey Island, Jets Are Also 'Sound Of Freedom'

For some, the sound of the growler jets over Whidbey Island are a deafening nuisance. But for at least one woman, it’s “the sound of freedom.”

We aired a story weeks ago about the growlers over Whidbey Island and focused on the testimony of Cate Andrews, who complained about the jets. She said the sound keeps her up until 1 a.m. She also said that she worries that the sound – which she said exceeds 110 decibels – is harming her hearing and hurting the animals on the island.

“I’m not anti-military,” Andrews said. “I’m pro-health.”

Although Andrews signed a disclosure agreement acknowledging she knew about the sound when she bought her house, she said she didn’t know it would be so intense.

After our story aired, we heard from others on the island who told us that they don’t mind the sound.

Reyna Hull-Walton, a military spouse who called it the sound of freedom, said that her 96-year-old grandmother doesn’t mind the roar of jet engines overhead. In fact, she has temporarily relocated to Hawaii and is unable to sleep because she said she misses the sound of the jets.

The growlers have been a part of Whidbey Island life for years. The noisy jets have been practicing take-offs and landings on aircraft carriers. The naval air station is also a mainstay of the local economy – many work there or work for businesses that support the Navy.