While watching election results on television, many UC residents started to hear the familiar sounds of a jet overheard, yet this time it was different. This time you can hear and feel the jet fly low; thinking this jet is right over me and wondering if it was going to crash into my house. Flashbacks to the crash in 2008 suddenly came to mind, and for a moment I was personally taking stock of family members who were home. The low flying jet started on the west side and by the time I called family on the east side, they heard and felt it too.
The next day, we found out through the U-T San Diego and the North County Times that it was a F/A-18 jet from the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier being diverted to Miramar for an emergency landing. Quite a similar situation in 2008 when a F/A-18 Hornet jet crashed into a couple UC homes killing four people. It was later found that emergency landing rules were not followed. There are certain protocols that are supposed to be in place when military planes are in trouble, and in the election night incident I don’t believe flying low over residential areas is one of them. Luckily, the pilot landed without any other problems.
This is a sticky situation for Miramar. The memories are still fresh from the 2008 crash, where many of our children were having lunch at school when they saw the jet fly low and the pilot eject. What if the jet had crashed into the high school? In fact, all the local schools were in its’ path. I vividly remember seeing smoke on my way to Spreckels to help at lunch time thinking there was a house fire. We all soon found out the tragic cause.
Look, I think as a community we support our military and our troops. And yes, we knew when we bought our homes that Miramar was to the east of UC and their aircraft fly over us. AT the same time, many of us also enjoy the perks of having a close proximity to Miramar, such as when the recent Air Shows take place and we get back yard views (although we don’t really enjoy all the noise from the practice flights). Air Show viewing parties are planned, picnics at UC Gardens Park are held, and kids squeal with delight as they watch the formations zoom by. No matter what we are doing—gardening, sports practice, driving—we like to stop and watch wishing we could be up in those planes too.
But the point here is prevention. Let’s make sure we prevent another 2008 tragedy.
Community leaders have tried to contact MCAS (my emails have gone unanswered) to address the issue. Janay Kruger, president of the UCPG, has invited a representative to attend Tuesday’s meeting (6:00 at UTC’s Forum Hall - above Wells Fargo Bank) to address the incident. As of this writing, Kruger has not received a confirmation for this Tuesday, but they MCAS has already been scheduled to appear at the next UCPG meeting on January 8. If you want your concerns heard, try to attend.
As we continue to celebrate the heroism of our military on Veteran’s Day, let’s work together to keep our relationship with our military neighbor a positive one.
Our respect for our military continues to grow with our youth. This year the JROTC program was started at UCHS under the direction of Lt. Col. (ret.) Brian Josten, who runs a full day of JROTC classes and an after-school program (including a CyberPatriot program). They have already been very active in the community as they lead flag ceremonies at the school, open at the football games, and will be marching in today’s Vetaran’s Day Parade downtown.
So you see, UC supports our military, we just want them to protect the neighboring civilians too.