Two naval aviators who drew a penis in the sky over Washington state this month have been personally disciplined by the vice admiral in command of Naval Air Forces, the service told the Washington Examiner.
Vice Adm. Mike Shoemaker convened what the service calls a naval aviator evaluation board for the two EA-18G Growler aviators on Nov. 22 and both were given administrative punishments, said Cmdr. Ron Flanders, spokesperson for Naval Air Forces.
But a separate investigation into the sky-writing incident by the carrier air wing is still ongoing, meaning additional discipline is possible, Flanders said. Their unit, Electronic Attack Squadron 130, which is based at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash., falls under Carrier Air Wing 3.
The aviators used their jet exhaust to draw a penis in the sky during training on Nov. 16. The incident was photographed and shared widely on social media, forcing an apology from the Navy.
Shoemaker’s personal role in the evaluation board was an unusual move that indicates the Navy’s seriousness. Such boards are usually convened by commanders and aviators further down the chain of command, according to Flanders.
The Navy does not release the results of the evaluation boards or discuss what discipline was meted out.
The Virginia-based carrier air wing has been gathering facts in the case and could also decide to discipline the Growler aviators. Such proceedings can lead to courts-martial, which would be more serious than the administrative punishment by Shoemaker, Flanders 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,” Shoemaker said on Nov. 17. “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. We will investigate this incident to get all the facts and act accordingly.”