Military jets roar over Martha’s Vineyard

An Air National Guard F-15 flies over Vineyard Haven on Tuesday. — Gabrielle Mannino

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.


  1. I don’t know who Jeri Dantzig is, but I’m sure there are a lot of military operations you’re not aware of.

  2. Very foolish. Had there been a in flight collision this would be a very different story. And who needs the noise. Several planes also still fly without any radios or transponders into Katama airfield and having an F-15 crash here would be an environmental nightmare.

    • Did you read or think about the actual altitudes the F-15bwere flying at vs the light aircraft you mentioned?- and your answer is — No

  3. What exactly is the “ royal black eye “ and if they weren’t in the airport airspace why would they notify the airport ? Come on Jeff, really. The military is flying near and around the island and they should call you ?

  4. It is interesting to me that MV Times resorts to extensively quoting out of social media for island reactions to these jets, despite having their very own “post comment” section.
    It’s not hard to figure out, the standard of censorship and restrictions here have created social media as the preferred forum for the people’s opinions. The mere publishing of these words (if it happens) , proves nothing.
    The MV Times ought to recognize why the people of Martha’s Vineyard have rejected their forum, instead preferring social media. It marks the demise of a now very lonely place.

    • Your comment fails to understand how reporting works. You can’t comment on a story until there is a story. And although we were able to post this story pretty quickly, it still took more time than it takes someone to react on Facebook or Twitter. We looked at social media to see what the reaction was publicly and it was immediate and it was confused. We got the actual facts (no it wasn’t about Obama and no it wasn’t the Blue Angels). You know the only time your comments aren’t posted is when you don’t follow our simple rules.

  5. When you live near a military base and act surprised when planes fly over head is not the military’s fault it is your ignorance. Unfortunately your feeling of entitlement is not more important than National Defense.

    • There haven’t been fighter jets on Cape since 2007. And these jets were from Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield.

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