Two F-15s caused a bit of a stir over Martha’s Vineyard Tuesday, but a state military spokesman says it was all just a “routine training exercise.”
“There isn’t anything going on, it’s a routine training flight,” Don Veitch, a spokesman for the Massachusetts National Guard, said.
The roar of the engines, which was familiar to Cape and Island residents when the jets were stationed at Joint Base Cape Cod, has been nonexistent since the jets were relocated in 2007. But on Tuesday afternoon, just before 2 pm, the Island snapped to attention, with many people looking skyward, as the two jets circled.
The F-15s, part of the 104th Fighter Wing, now fly out of Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield. “It’s regular air traffic,” Veitch said. “People in the western part of the state see it all the time.”
Geoff Freeman, assistant manager at Martha’s Vineyard Airport, said the fighters were above the airport’s air space. “The airport had absolutely no prior warning of this,” he said. “They really gave us a royal black eye with this one.”
Former President Barack Obama remains on the Island on vacation. On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, jets that were then part of the 102nd Fighter Wing took off what was then Otis Air Force Base. It’s since been renamed Joint Base Cape Cod, but no longer has much jet traffic.
Tuesday’s training flight created a buzz on social media, and prompted some calls to the Dukes County Sheriff’s communications center.
Islanders Talk also saw some concerned commenters remarking on the overwhelming sound of jet engines overhead. Jeri Dantzig asked, “Is there some military operation I don’t know about? Sounds like supersonic military going over my house by lower Lambert’s Cove Road.”
Others were less concerned, and more excited. Daniel Phelan wrote “An F-15! I haven’t seen one of those since I lived near Luke AFB in AZ. As an Air Force brat … I kind of love that sound.”
Two Massachusetts National Guard F-15 jets flew “routine practice exercises” over Vineyard Haven on Tuesday. Video courtesy Henry Gallagher.