By Polly Keary, Editor
Sultan residents several months ago began to report increased helicopter activity in the area, including incidents in which multiple helicopters flew low over outlying areas late at night.
Police Chief Jeff Brand decided to investigate and began calling any of the agencies he could think of that might be responsible.
The Sheriff’s Department didn’t have any idea who might be flying around the town, nor did the Marine Corps or the Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Finally Brand got confirmation that the helicopters are in fact from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, south of Seattle.
The military has been using Sky Harbor, a small, primitive airstrip near Sultan, as a location for practice. The airport has long since been closed, but the airstrip was never decommissioned; although it serves more as an emergency landing strip, said Brand.
Those lack of amenities is actually what makes it a good place for the military to practice, he explained.
“Because it doesn’t have traffic at night, the military doesn’t have to worry about other people coming and going,” he said. “They said, ‘We like to come in there and practice with some of our night ops.’”