In Defense Of Military Pilots Drawing Dicks In The Sky

The Long March

On November 16, 2017, residents of Okanagan, Washington looked up to a penis in the sky. It was several miles long, drawn with the exhaust of an EA-18G Growler. After taking tons of photographs, one distressed young mother told local television station KREM, she was worried she “might have to explain what it was to her children.” KREM showed only the shaft during the nightly news, calling the complete drawing, “offensive.”


Vice Admiral Mike Shoemaker, Chief of Naval Air Operations, shared their concerns. After admitting the aircraft, pilot and weapons system officer were assigned to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, he said, “The American people rightfully expect that those who wear the Wings of Gold exhibit a level of maturity commensurate with the missions and aircraft with which they’ve been entrusted. Naval aviation continually strives to foster an environment of dignity and respect. Sophomoric and immature antics of a sexual nature have no place in Naval aviation today.”

A penis in the sky above Okanagan, Washington State, on November 16, 2017Photo via Twitter

The skywriting made world headlines. It also came during the birth of the #MeToo movement. Harvey Weinstein was mouthing half-assed apologies, admitting he had “a long way to go…to conquer his demons.”

In an article published the next day, the Washington Post raised the ugly specter of sexual harassment: “If the skywriting over Washington is determined to be sexual harassment aimed at someone in the same squadron, service members involved could be subject to formal counseling, negative fitness reports that hurt careers, administrative punishment, or court-martial and separation from the service.” The Post did not explain, however, how those clouds could maintain their phallic shape, or any shape at all, during the 100-mile drift back to Whidbey Island.       

These penises are not unprecedented. In August 2017, a Royal Air Force pilot sketched one 34-miles long over the skies of northern England. A few years before that, another RAF pilot drew one in Scottish airspace. And what looked suspiciously like one was left over Germany last April, but the Air Force denies the thing with two testicles, a shaft, and a rounded head was really a penis. They “were simply mission-related contrails,” Air Force officials said.

Not to be outdone, last Monday a Marine Corps T-34C pilot from MCAS Miramar drew not one, but two, penises over the Salton Sea in California’s Mojave desert. According to Major Josef Patterson, a spokesman with the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, “We’ve opened an investigation that is underway as we speak.”

What is there to investigate?

Yes, that is exactly what you think it isTwitter/@AircraftSpots

I can tell the Marine Corps what happened. Fighter pilots, young males with type-A personalities assigned to stateside bases, were screwing around. This is a predominantly male profession. Less than five percent of pilots, civilian and military, are women.

Fighter pilots are America’s first line of defense. They protect our freedom. The propensity to engage in these acts is hard-wired into the young people we train to perform one of the world’s most dangerous jobs. A 2010 Doctoral Dissertation at Florida State University by Katie Ragan confirms this: ”Fighter pilots scored significantly higher than the general population on gregariousness, assertiveness, activity, excitement-seeking, ideas, competence, and achievement striving. Fighter pilots scored significantly lower than the general population on anxiety, depression, vulnerability, straightforwardness, compliance, modesty, and tender-mindedness.”

In short, fighter pilots are gutsy risk takers who worry far less about danger than others. They feed off adrenaline. They bore easily.

And with the gauntlet thrown, these penises will keep appearing overhead. The Florida study suggests fighter pilots readily accept challenges. I wager the impetus for these acts of sky artistry were double, or perhaps even triple, dog dares.

What do we expect from these young guys? They train to kill people under the most challenging of conditions. Political correctness may be in vogue with college students who cannot fathom why people don’t take their gender studies curriculum seriously, but not with fighter pilots. They don’t give a damn about being “progressive.” These guys are warriors.

But if you need close air support, who would you call?

I’ll take the pilot with the balls to draw a penis in the sky. I want Maverick, even knowing he got his ass chewed out for that flyby. The snowflakes can stay in safe spaces hugging gender-neutral therapy dolls.

"Fighter pilots are gutsy risk takers who worry far less about danger than others. They feed off adrenaline. They bore easily"

Right now at Miramar, a senior officer is disciplining a young pilot for doing something the senior did when he was in his twenties. I am not suggesting there should be no punishment. A pilot cannot take a seventy million dollar aircraft on a joyride. But nobody got hurt. Everyone I spoke to thought the sky penises were either funny or not important. They even spawned humorous twitter responses, such as the tweet that complimented the naval artistry over Okanagan and noted the drawing of the shaft “was the hardest part.”

The two Navy officers received the military version of a wrist slap. They now teach sensitivity to other pilots. I would love to sit in on that class. I hope the Marine Corps follows suit.

As a boy, I lived near Naval Air Station Los Alamitos. Along the fence separating the airfield from Lampson Road, a sign read, 'Pardon our Noise. It’s the Sound of Freedom.”

Pardon that Penis. It’s the Price of Freedom.

E. (Mark) Johnson is a retired colonel of the United States Army Reserve, an Iraq War veteran, and a graduate of the United States Army War College.

SEE ALSO: A (Very) Short History Of Military Personnel Drawing Dicks In The Sky

WATCH NEXT:

Casperassets.rbl.ms

Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.

Take $75 off a Casper Mattress and $150 off a Wave Mattress with code TASKANDPURPOSE

And no one knows that better than military service members and we have the pictures to prove it.

Read More Show Less
Staff Sgt. Daniel Christopher Evans was arrested on Jan. 29, 2018. (Photo courtesy of Wilmington Police Department, North Carolina.)

A special operations Marine is due in court on March 7 after being arrested last year for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend, Task & Purpose has learned.

Staff Sgt. Daniel Christopher Evans was arrested and charged with assault inflicting serious injury on July 29, 2018, according to Jennifer Dandron, a spokeswoman for police in Wilmington, North Carolina. Evans is currently assigned as a Critical Skills Operator with the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, according to the Marine Corps Personnel Locator.

Read More Show Less
U.S. Army 1st Lt. Elyse Ping Medvigy conducts a call-for-fire during an artillery shoot south of Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Aug. 22, 2014. Medvigy, a fire support officer assigned to the 4th Infantry Division's Company D, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, is the first female company fire support officer to serve in an infantry brigade combat team supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Whitney Houston (Photo by U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Whitney Houston)

Following Trump's inauguration, some supporters of ground combat integration assumed he would quickly move to reinstate a ban on women in jobs like the infantry. When this did not happen, advocates breathed a collective sigh of relief, and hundreds of qualified women charted a course in history by entering the newly opened occupational fields.

So earlier this week when the Wall Street Journal published an editorial against women in ground combat by conservative political commentator Heather Mac Donald, the inclination of many ground combat integration supporters was to dismiss it outright. But given Trump's proclivity to make knee jerk policy decisions in response to falling approval ratings and the court's tradition of deference to the military when it comes to policies affecting good order and discipline, it would be unwise to assume the 2016 lifting of the ban on women in ground combat is a done deal.

Read More Show Less

R. Lee Ermey was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery on Friday.

Best known for his iconic role as the Marine Corps drill instructor Gunnery Sgt. Hartman in the war drama Full Metal Jacket, Ermey died April 15, 2018 at age 74 due to complications from pneumonia, Task & Purpose previously reported.

Read More Show Less
A B-2 Spirit bomber deployed from Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, and F-22 Raptors from the Hawaii Air National Guard's 154th Wing fly near Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, during a interoperability training mission Jan. 15, 2019. (U.S. Air Force/Master Sgt. Russ Scalf)

The U.S. Air Force has two of its most elite aircraft — the B-2 Spirit bomber and the F-22 Raptor — training together in the Pacific, reassuring America's allies and sending a warning to strategic competitors and adversaries about the sheer power the U.S. brings to the table.

These stunning photos show the powerful aircraft tearing across the Pacific, where the U.S. has increasingly found itself facing challenges from a rising China.

Read More Show Less