Saying the right thing: jet noise.

Spouses of deployed service members can sometimes be a little touchy … at least, I sure am! I realize that I’m this way and I’ve been working hard to develop a thicker skin. However, there is one comment that irks me more then anything else, and it is normally said to me by other military spouses:

“No offense, but I wish that the jets were always deployed. I hate the jet noise! I hate when they’re home!”

I’ve heard versions of this comment at least 50 times since we moved here, and the comments, of course, always come from the lips of those whose loved ones have nothing to do with the jets on this base. Normally these comments come from the medical staff spouses, the intel spouses, and even helicopter spouses.

At first I’d get mad and not say anything, or straight up tell them that their comment IS offensive, and that they should keep their opinions about my husband’s deployments to themselves. That sure shut-up some rude ladies, but it’s not the nicest thing to say.

Recently I’ve begun telling people things like, “Well, I love the noise, because that noise means that my husband is home! If your husband’s job was related to jets, you’d sure appreciate the noise, too!”

I thought that this kind of comment would get my point across in a nice way, and maybe these very rude ladies would stop making comments like that to me … but being nice hasn’t worked at all. By being nice, I think that I open the door to them thinking that they should further elaborate on how much they hate when the jets are “home”.

Last night I was subjected to a lengthy conversation about jet noise by two ladies with whom I was having dinner (never again!). Because my first approach didn’t work and the conversation continued, I then tried something else:

“Well, it’s too bad that your husbands’ jobs have you based on a JET BASE. When you live on a jet base, you hear jets. It’s how it works. Maybe next time you’ll be based on a sub base, or on a carrier base.”

This, of course, didn’t work either, and the two now-obnoxious ladies continued.

I tried to change the subject to when our husbands were finally getting home, which also didn’t work. Comments like “I wish the jets just stayed on the boat the whole time” and “I can’t wait to leave” were tossed around. Yes, actually, I can’t wait until you leave too, you jerk. I feel like a lot of the women who make comments like this to jet-spouses have a sense of entitlement, like it’s perfectly appropriate to say stuff like this to us. It’s probably along the same vein as when people, whom I don’t even know, ask me when Michael and I are going to start having kids and then tell me that I’ll regret it later if we don’t have children just like their loud and unmannerly children.

The truth is that I, too, dislike the jet noise because it’s very loud and it can be startling. However, I also dislike the helicopter noise, and how low they fly, and that some of the guys in the helos watch us on the ground through binoculars. I’d like to think that I’m too nice and classy to tell a helo wife that I’m bothered by the noise their husband’s helos make, and that I wish they’d all stay out to sea — because, if I said that, it would be a lie. I’d never wish a deployment on another family.



  1. Jet noise is the sound of freedom!

    I grew up with it living so close to NAS Whidbey! The barn my horses were at was in the flight patterns. If we were at friends houses or at the barn when they were flying we knew we couldn’t hold real conversations bc we’d have to stop every once in awhile. It’s nice that they have the Growlers out there now tho. They’re a lot quieter than the Prowlers! (Most of the time lol)

    Have you heard about the stink that the people in Coupeville a putting up over the OLF Field? That landing strip was there since like the 40s and now people are complaining about the jet noise! If you haven’t and can’t find it, I’ll send you an article about it. It’s ridiculous! Now there are signs and bumper stickers all over the place on Whidbey promoting the jet noise! (Good)

      1. All those people need to be informed that they are guilty of whining about a First World Problem, which is not something to whine about! LOL

  2. When I lived in Tampa, our house was just a mile or two from Macdill Air Force base. Jets flew over our house all the time, and I can’t lie: the noise scared me to death, every time. I startle really easily, and whenever I heard that roar come out of nowhere I would jump and my heart would pound for ten minutes afterwards. If I’m ever in that situation again, I will think of it this way: at least the pilots are home and not deployed!

  3. When I lived in Tampa, our house was just a mile or two from the Macdill Air Force base and we heard a lot of those jets. I can’t say I hated it, but the noises certainly scared me! I startle really easily, so every time that roar would come out of nowhere, I jumped and my heart pounded for about ten minutes afterwards. Living near a base is not for the faint of heart… or at least, not for those prone to anxiety. Now, at least I know how to think of those sounds. They are the happy noises that mean a bunch of husbands aren’t deployed. I can’t say I miss them, though!

  4. There’s a big debate on whidbey right now about the OLF in coupeville; the local folk–ALL OF WHOM SIGNED PAPERS SAYING THEY UNDERSTAND THAT LOUD JETS WILL FLY CLOSE TO THEIR HOUSES ALL THE TIME AND ARE OKAY WITH IT–started to complain that growlers are “too loud”. It’s actually closed right now, until the 1st of the year. But the guys still have to practice tailhooking, it’s just that now they have to go to like Fallon or El Centro to practice. So of course I just want to smack all of these whiney jerks. Now instead of just CQs and going to the boat a couple times before deployment, they have to leave for extra weeks and months to practice things they should be able to do here. I have no sympathy for these people who knew when they bought their house it was right by this REALLY LOUD place. Grumble grumble. Keep our aviators home more, that’s my opinion. (I have a strong opinion on this subject.)

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