NAVY JET NOISE: Hammerstrom Calls in the FBI

 
EDITOR’S NOTE:  Last year the US Navy decided to expand its NAS Key West training program which will execute an estimated 52,000 flight operations a year out of Boca Chica Field.  This makes NAS Key West one of the busiest training facilities on the east coast, but many believe it has also turned surrrounding neighborhoods into a living hell. Politicians and local activists pushed back hard but despite their efforts were unable to get the Navy to reconsider the program or to bring mitigation measures. But the residents of Stock Island and Key Haven may have found an unlikely hero:  Twenty-five year Navy veteran, John Hammerstrom. Hammertrom retired as a Navy aviator with the rank of Commander and is the most lethal type of government Whistleblower: He loves the Navy. But he has come across what he believes is a pattern of repeated misrepresentations and even outright fraud in the impact assessment of the flight program. He wants it straightened out and he’s not taking no for an answer. Last Tuesday Hammerstrom took his accusations to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Below is his formal complaint to the regional FBI unit in Miami.

Commander John Hammerstrom, USN (Ret)

P.O. Box 860

Tavernier, FL 33070

 January 21, 2014

Michael B. Steinbach, Special Agent in Charge

Federal Bureau of Investigation,

16320 NW 2nd Avenue

North Miami Beach, FL 33169

 

Dear Agent Steinbach,

I request a meeting with you, or one of your staff to detail the following:

In violation of 18 U.S. Code § 1001 and other laws, officials of the U.S. Navy knowingly and willfully made a materially false statement in their October 31, 2013 Record of Decision (ROD) for the Naval Air Station (NAS) Key West Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS). The fraud invalidates key findings of the parent document – the FEIS itself.

The false statement is “The 2003 Environmental Assessment (EA) for Fleet Support and Infrastructure Improvements at NAS Key West analyzed potential impacts to the human environment, including noise and flight paths resulting from all transient aircraft operations, including the F/A18E/F operations. As a result of that analysis, the DoN reached a Finding of No Significant Impact on April 14, 2003, which completed and satisfied the NEPA [National Environmental Policy Act] requirements associated with the introduction of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet at NAS Key West.”

In fact, the 2003 EA pertains to modernizing “…ship and aircraft support functions and facilities at the Naval Air Station (NAS) Key West including Boca Chica and Truman Harbor.” The 2003 EA does not evaluate the potential “…impacts to the human environment…from all transient aircraft operations, including the F/A-18E/F operations …” as claimed.

The evidence:

1. The complete document history for this 2003 Environmental Assessment consists of more than 500 pages, beginning with the October 2, 2002 “brief letter,” required of Navy Commanding Officers anticipating the need for an Environmental Assessment, through the final document—the Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI)—signed April 14, 2003. Within the family of documents, the Super Hornet was only mentioned on three pages (less than 1% of the documentation); those three pages did not analyze “…potential impacts to the human environment, including noise and flight paths resulting from all transient aircraft operations, including the F/A18E/F operations…”; and therefore the Navy did not satisfy the NEPA requirements.

2. There is no record in the Federal Register or elsewhere, until after the signing date of the 2003 FONSI, of any connection between an evaluation of the introduction of the Super Hornet to NAS Key West and the 2003 Environmental Assessment. It was not until some time after the publication of the 2003 EA and the FONSI, that the Navy first asserted that the 2003 EA pertained to and exonerated the introduction of the Super Hornet to NAS Key West. The Navy performed a separate and unrelated (dated July, 2003) Environmental Impact Statement for the Introduction of the Super Hornet to the East Coast of the United States, but that analysis did not include NAS Key West. The Navy has refused to identify the earliest document that connects an evaluation of the Super Hornet with the 2003 EA.

3. NEPA Environmental Assessment documentation requires identification of a Proposed Action and a listing of Alternatives. There is no mention of the Super Hornet in either the Proposed Action or the Alternatives and therefore the 2003 EA did not complete and satisfy the NEPA requirements as claimed.

4. The FONSI does not mention the Super Hornet. Their claim that the FONSI “…completed and satisfied the NEPA requirements…” for analysis of “…all transient aircraft operations, including the F/A-18E/F operations…” at NAS Key West cannot be true, since it does not mention the aircraft.

5. Among ten pages of references, one lone reference in the 2003 EA pertains to aircraft. The “Wyle Laboratories Draft Noise Study for Forecast CY07 Conditions at NAS Key West.” The Adobe Reader “document properties” for the study indicates that the author of the 2003 study was Jrachami (possibly Jawad Rachami of the Wyle Acoustics Group, who, ten years later, is also the Principal-In-Charge of the January 2013 F-35 FEIS NAS Key West Noise Study, connected to the Record of Decision discussed here). The “creation date” of the study was “Apr 24, 2003,” ten days AFTER the signing of the final document. The Navy has refused to explain the anachronism.

6. Notwithstanding the Navy’s inability to locate the Draft version of the 2003 EA (released to the public and reporting agencies prior to the publication of the EA itself) in response to a Freedom of Information Act request and appeal, I subsequently located a copy and copied pertinent pages. The Draft contains absolutely no mention of the Super Hornet, and the EA’s “Wyle Lab” reference is absent. Thus, there is no evidence whatsoever that the Environmental Assessment process that began on October 2, 2002 was intended to evaluate the impacts of the Super Hornet, despite the Navy’s false assertions after the fact.

References:

All corroborating documentation can be downloaded from this link.

A complete investigation of this matter would include DODIG Cases #105900 and #113851; and GAO Control #51428, which are likely to reveal important details to FBI investigators that are not visible in the heavily redacted public reports.

Sincerely,

 hammerstrom signature

 

 

John G. Hammerstrom

Commander, USN (Ret)

 

Cc:

U.S. Congressman Joe Garcia

Monroe County Florida Commissioner Sylvia Murphy

Former Commissioner Kim Wigington

Richard Grosso, Esq.

Naja Girard – The Blue Paper website – www.thebluepaper.com

Ethan Rosenkranz – Project on Governmental Oversight – www.pogo.org

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  10 Responses to “NAVY JET NOISE: Hammerstrom Calls in the FBI”

  1. This sounds a lot like the mess NAS Oceana in Virginia Beach went through when the Navy began using the F/A-18’s.

    I personally look at these complaints with scepticism for this reason. Both Virginia Beach & Key West are major resort areas that are served by airports that have relatively short runways, hence the largest airliners are not able use them. AND both areas have Naval Air Stations that already have the needed infrastructure that would instantly fulfill the resorts “needs” for the largest airliners. If the Navy cannot operate the way they need to… have unworkable constraints placed upon them… they (the Navy) will simply close up shop and close the base… INSTANT CIVILIAN AIRPORT that all the largest planes can use!
    AND, just think of all the real estate that will go on the tax books (and of course) and need to be sold by local real estate companies.

  2. Can everyone quit whining about the jet noise? I live on Stock Island and barely even notice the Navy jets. What I DO notice is the airliners coming in right over my house. Not that I am complaining- I knew where I was moving and so did all these other people.

    And Dare3010 you think the Navy moving out would be beneficial? See what happens when there is a mass exit of people who spend money in this economy. Not that it will happen anyway so people just need to get over it. It’s getting old to see the same story over and over.

  3. Doubt the Navy will go quietly into the night …

    Does the FBI have jurisdiction over the Navy?

    A U.S District Court probably has jurisdiction, a U.S. Attorney probably has jurisdiction.

    Years ago, this was being batted around by John Hammerstrom, County Commissioner Kim Wigington, others, including me. It appeared the Navy changed the flight patterns (contours) of its training jets, so as to stop them from flying over Key Haven and the golf course. Before that, the sound of freedom was spread around pretty well, everybody got blasted by it, but not as frequently as some neighborhoods started getting blasted after the jets quit flying over Key Haven and the golf course, The neighborhoods getting most of the additional blasting were on the county side of US 1 on Stock Island, the “po folks” side. Kim Wigington lived on that side. County Commissioner Sylvia Murphy said at a public meeting I attended, that she drove out to near the airfield to hear the noise firsthand, and she said there was no way she could live with that noise all the time. I tried to persuade the Navy brass, at a county commission meeting, to simply return to the old flight contours, spread the sound of freedom around on everyone, but that didn’t get smiley faces. I hear the F-35, which the Navy intends to bring down her and train pilots in is as or even more loud than the F-18.

  4. While a proper evaluation of the impacts of the Super Hornet might have been the original issue, those concerns have been eclipsed by the Navy’s fraudulent statements.

    18 U.S. Code § 1001 states, “Except as otherwise provided in this section, whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly and willfully—
    (1) falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact;
    (2) makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; or
    (3) makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry;
    shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years …”

    The Department of the Navy is in the jurisdiction of the Executive Branch.

    The mission of the FBI is, “…to uphold and enforce the criminal laws of the United States, and to provide leadership and criminal justice services to federal, state, municipal, and international agencies and partners.”

    Every citizen should be very concerned if their government willfully and knowingly makes fraudulent statements. At this point, the issue is not noise, but malfeasance.


    • Every citizen should be very concerned if their government willfully and knowingly makes fraudulent statements. At this point, the issue is not noise, but malfeasance.”

      john its been going on for decades and we the people are numb to the noise of it all. 90% of the government needs be locked up and the key thrown away. thats 90% of the house and 90% of the senate and 100% of the administration. we the people are subject to lies and deception from government officials and politicians on a regular daily basis 90% of the time. once in a great while some light of truth shows thru and that person is then buried under verbal attacks and vilified as insane or worse and ignored by the powers that be so very limited exposure can be given as to not rock the sheeple boat. ron paul is a prime example. we the people ‘can’t handle the truth’ and are doomed!

  5. Boy , all this attention to Key West. If this keeps up half of the people you think are tourists will be the feds sneaking in the back door. As I said , The feds are coming, the feds are coming.

  6. Perhaps the FBI should investigate some of our local elected officials for sometimes making false statements?

  7. At a recent Key West City meeting the Navy’s spokesman said:( of the Truman Annex Park) :

    “We really do need to improve the communications along these lines,” Demes said. “We just cannot continue to not communicate effectively.”

    Right. They have a sad history of fudging the requirements mandated by NEPA and other Federal law. It’s good to see people standing up to them and calling them out on it.

    • Oh dear! If we challenge the Navy on anything they will say they are leaving! They pump SO much money into our economy right? Oh dear!! My oh my! Whatever would we do?

  8. this is the same thing NASWI (NAS Whidbey island ) is doing in the North west and the noise from this EA-18G is harming and Endangering the civilian population with zero regard for our Health, Safety or quality of life.

    the Navy is flying 200-300 feet off our homes and the decibels are over 150+ DB and fuel smell last for several days in air.

    we have a 100 year old family farm and our part of the U-pick farm this EA-18G is driving our customers out of our field due to the noise and pollution and is driving the local farms out of business.