OKANOGAN COUNTY, Wash. -- People all over the nation are talking about the story KREM 2 broke about a Navy plane drawing a lewd image in the sky over Okanogan County.
Before you say slow news day or say we have more important stuff to talk about, we know. We get it. We agree it is not the most important thing going on. But thousands of people are interested and so is the rest of the world.
Media around the world picked up our story including USA Today, CBS News, the BBC and Deadspin. As of Friday afternoon, it was still trending on Facebook and Twitter. It is one of our most shared posts in the history of KREM 2 News.
A few people on Facebook were less than please we posted the story. One viewer commented saying, “This is fantastic, that airmen deserves an award for his creativity and humor. Also, KREM 2, you guys even posting how this is offensive should punch yourselves in the head for being such sticks in the mud.”
We can understand questioning why we would even be talking about this, but we have come to terms with the fact that we’re doing the story, so you have to too.
So why are these sky drawings a big deal? To many they are not. We have only saw a few comments on our Facebook page at least talking about how this is a waste of tax payer money. The majority of comments were congratulating the Navy pilots on their flying abilities.
This is not the first time we've seen pilots have a little trouble following the rules. But what are the rules?
According to a Federal Aviation Administration map, the phallic shaped drawing was done in the Okanogan Military Operation Area or the MOA. The Federal Aviation Regulation Manual has a section on reckless operation but nothing we could find on obscene sky drawing. In looking at the photo, we also noticed this may have been the pilot's second attempt at drawing this. In one of the photos you can see a failed attempt where the dimensions are not quite right, so the pilot tried a second time to get it just right.
KREM 2 texted with one F-16 pilot, who will remain anonymous. They said they were impressed because this is hard to do and said the pilot is approaching legendary status in the military.
But, the Navy is not taking this lightly and said they're investigating this flight. In a statement released Friday by Navy officials said, "The actions of this aircrew were wholly unacceptable and antithetical to Navy core values. We have grounded the aircrew and are conducting a thorough investigation - and we will hold those responsible accountable for their actions. The Navy apologizes for this irresponsible and immature act. The Navy apologizes to anyone who was offended by this unacceptable action."