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Details of Navy's investigation into 'sky penis' incident revealed

Military commanders were not laughing

Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

New details have emerged regarding a now-infamous 2017 "sky penis" incident where the Navy admitted one of its aircraft was involved in creating an emblazoned phallic symbol across the sky over Okanogan County, Washington.

What's the background?

The curiously shaped contrails caught the attention of folks on the ground on Nov. 10, 2017. Officials issued a statement to the outlet, saying, "The Navy holds its aircrew to the highest standards and we find this absolutely unacceptable, of zero training value and we are holding the crew accountable."

Soon, pictures showing the "skywritings of what some described as male genitalia" went viral, to the delight of some observers and the disgust of others.

But Naval commanders weren't laughing. They launched an investigation into the antics, turning over only a redacted report on the incident to the Navy Times in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

What are the details?

According to the Navy Times, the "sky penis" investigation revealed that the two unnamed lieutenants behind the aerial artwork were described as model officers who were showing off for another jet after the completion of a training exercise.

The transcript shows the pilot was egged on by his electronic warfare officer, who suggested, "Draw a giant penis. That would be awesome." He further advised, "You should totally try to draw a penis."

"Dude, that would be so funny," the pilot replied, adding it would be quite a view for "airliners coming back on their way into Seattle."

Yet, after the deed was done, the cockpit partners realized the contrails were lingering in place longer than they had planned. In haste, the pilot attempted to make another swoop aimed at erasing the imagery.

He later recalled, "I remarked that we needed to take steps to try to obfuscate it. I flew one pass over it essentially trying to scribble it out with my contrails. That pass was ineffective."

But the duo's EA-18G aircraft was running low on fuel, and they were forced to return to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, leaving their creation behind to be seen by the masses.

What did the report say?

The Navy's report noted, "The investigation revealed no indications of poor command climate and no evidence or allegations (of) overt sexism or misogyny."

One officer summed up the situation by saying, "This was a really bad decision by some really good guys in a really good squadron."

One last thing…
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