San Diego Vets Call to Cancel Miramar Air Show – Will Protest on Carroll Canyon Overpass – Thurs., Sept.22

by on September 22, 2022 · 36 comments

in Environment, Military, San Diego, Veterans

The San Diego Veterans For Peace, along with 16 other local environmental, social, and religious groups, will be again demonstrating at the Carroll Canyon Road overpass to the I-15, this Thursday, Sept 22nd between 4 and 6 PM, asking that the upcoming Miramar Air Show be cancelled, as an unnecessarily dangerous and environmental disaster. (See below for more.)

The groups have been staging events on the overpass over the past month, drumming up support for their call. While there has been press coverage from as far away as China and Thailand, there has been limited coverage to date, by the local San Diego press, of this large and growing opposition to the annual Miramar Air Show.

Here are the sponsoring organizations:

Miramar Air Show Fuels the Climate Crisis – Boycott It!

By Gary Butterfield

Fellow San Diegans

Heathrow Airport in London just recently hit an all-time high temperature of 104 degrees Fahrenheit and new heat records continue to soar across a sweltering Europe and Central Asia while wildfires burn out of control throughout the globe.  Why, it even hit 102 degrees in Portland, Oregon.

As the visible effects of climate change resound throughout the earth, it becomes increasingly important that all of us do our part to responsibly reduce our carbon footprints.  This is especially true in San Diego, since our oceans and our coasts are at high risk of damage by climate change.

San Diegans are asked to modify our behaviors to lessen our carbon usage; we must demand the same commitment from our institutions.  Many local municipalities are revealing actions to help implement a meaningful Climate Action Plan to secure a Zero Carbon Future for their citizens.  So far none of these plans address the military’s contribution to the climate crisis!

San Diego is home to the nation’s largest concentration of active duty military personnel, as well as to a significant number of veterans.  Since the US military is the single largest institutional user of petroleum products and the single largest institutional emitter of greenhouse gases in the world,  it is reasonable to posit that this outsized military presence contributes a disproportionately large percentage of the pollution in our County.

The Blue Angels, in their training and performances, use highly-polluting jet fuel in copious amounts that produce additional greenhouse gases to contaminate our environment. For example, based on figures provided by the Blue Angels, the Commanding Officer needs 3,000 flight training hours to qualify and the other 14 pilots 1,350 flight hours.

The F/A-18 burns about 1,200 gallons of fuel per hour.  That’s over 26 million gallons of jet fuel just to get the cast to the runway.  Add another 20,000 gallons for the three-day show and the result is tons of greenhouse gases (and worse) emitted into the atmosphere.  This is for entertainment!  At a time when we are asked to alter our behavior, how can we allow this optional weekend of pollution to occur?

The Miramar Air Show is scheduled to be in San Diego from September 23-25th.  It will feature the USAF F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team and the Blue Angels.  Tickets are already being sold  starting at $351 each on-line, depending on where on the field they are placed.  Children’s tickets are less, and grandstand tickets are also less.  They are trying to make sure that everyone sees the pollution, breathed the pollution and contributed to the greenhouse gas problem the world is having.

The San Diego Veterans For Peace is once again planning to protest the Miramar Air Show and we are asking people to not attend.  This action is called “No MAS”, meaning No Miramar Air Show, but also, in Spanish, No MAS means No More.

Back in 2019 SD350, the Sunrise Movement, and others endorsed our actions and their members demonstrated with us during the September lead up to the event.  Our focus this year will be “Air Show Fuels Climate Crisis” and we are asking climate and social justice organizations to endorse our actions and encourage their members to participate.

We at Veterans For Peace believe the Blue Angels are a symbol of unchecked military pollution.  We can’t afford it!  Our planet cannot afford it! Veterans for Peace – those very people that were part of the conflicts the US has had, is against this “show”.  Help save the planet; help save lives.

Gary Butterfield is the former president of the San Diego chapter of Veterans for Peace


{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

retired botanist September 22, 2022 at 10:58 am

Let me be the first to offer kudos to this effort. These airshows are wrong on so many levels. I grew up in the military (Navy, my Dad was in submarines), so I get the clinging to tradition, the visual excitement, the desire to support the various branches of the military, etc. But in our day and age, and the state our global climate crisis, this is NOT the way to show support. I also have two nephews who are pilots (Delta and FedEx) who trained in the military…
Moreover, with the incredibly bloated (and questionably applied) DOD budget, charging $351 for a ticket? Seriously? Worse, the military has had the capability to use biofuels for some time now, yet has dragged their feet in embracing the technology. There is no excuse for continuing a hugely consumptive event simply so people can stand and literally watch gross pollution in action. Surely the military can create alternative public events, tours of aircraft? Parade formations? Educational events that showcase the kinds of skill sets pilots need to fly these planes? Please advocate for better planet stewardship by giving up attendance, and look for other ways to support all our service men and women! :-)


Geoff Page September 22, 2022 at 1:17 pm

Well said, retired.

Your dad was in submarines? So was mine! He graduated the academy in 1946 and served until 1968. He was in diesels, he and his diesel buddies referred to the nuclear submariners as the “nukey pukes.” Was your dad a nukey puke?


retired botanist September 22, 2022 at 4:10 pm

Snap, Geoff! I don’t want to usurp the thread here (sorry readers!) but, yes, my Dad commanded diesel subs, and was a commodore (war designation) in WWII in Pacific duty. He later had command of the first Polaris submarine fleet when it was positioned in the Holy Loch (Scotland) just before the Bay of Pigs crisis. I think my Dad was class of 36 at USNA. As sub technology evolved, he later went on to more diplomatic posts, such as instructing the Turkish Navy in how to man some of the subs we subsequently bequeathed, as US nuclear powered subs developed. So no, he was def a “diesel buddy”! We grew up w/ fascinating stories of life aboard diesel subs, like cigarettes going out due to low oxygen, and having to surface at night. Gosh, now I feel older than dirt, lol! Thx for the memory share!


retired botanist September 22, 2022 at 4:32 pm

And sorry to wax on with my comment, but perhaps this speaks, and circles back, to the issue at hand, which is how else can the military “show their skills” to the civilian public. As I became a marine biologist, in his latter years my dad and I often talked about the many OTHER ways the Navy could use their maritime expertise, know-how, and access to areas around the globe, to benefit peace-time endeavors of scientific discovery, data collection, and so on. There are so many other, positive aspects to the expertise our military pilots have, especially with the technologies available in aerial mapping and discovery, e.g., that doing aerial stunts just contributes so little to our future and, imo, sort of belittles the resources they could be showcasing.


Geoff Page September 23, 2022 at 12:17 pm

I agree. A lot of good technology has come via military expertise but a lot more could be done. These aerial shows are a waste of resources and part of a time gone by. I only attended once with my son. It was hot and miserable. But, what was interesting was watching all the non-military experimental planes perform stunts and touring parked planes on the tarmac. Unfortunately, the whole thing is set upon the huge expanse of the white concrete airstrip and it reflected the heat. But, I’d agree, have a show on the ground or with private planes.


Chris September 23, 2022 at 6:35 am

Surface guys referred to all sub guys as bubbleheads.


Geoff Page September 23, 2022 at 12:20 pm

Hey, thanks, I never heard that one. I don’t recall them having a name for the surface ships but I bet they did too. And, no worries, I know you meant that good-naturedly. I’ve neve seen you make an intentionally mean comment here.


Chris September 23, 2022 at 6:43 am

And I mean that with good natured ribbing.


lyle September 23, 2022 at 7:19 am

I heard a few submariners refer to surface ships as “targets”. good-natured of course.


Chris September 23, 2022 at 8:50 am

I was stationed on a submarine tender (USS Mckee) and got that all the time.


Geoff Page September 23, 2022 at 12:24 pm

I just mentioned in my reply to lyle that a submarine tender was my dad’s only surface assignment ever. So, “targets” was the term, I love it.


Geoff Page September 23, 2022 at 12:22 pm

Ah, thanks, lyle, I love that name and I can see how that one would make sense to the guys under the water. My dad was only on one tour aboard a surface ship. He was the exec on a submarine tender. One regret I have is that I never talked to him to hear how hard it was to go from a small boat with a small crew like a sub to a huge ship with a huge crew.


Geoff Page September 23, 2022 at 12:12 pm

Hey, the readers can skip this part. So, your Dad was about 10 years senior to mine. I bet they crossed paths. My dad did go on a six month cruise in the Atlantic and went to Holy Loch on that trip. I can’t remember the dates but I was pretty young. Most of the time, he was in the Pacific theater, all over the place. He moved up too and his last command was a squadron of subs here at the Point Loma sub base in the mid 60s. From there he went back to Pentagon for a second tour there and retired a little later. He retired at the rank of captain. The kids really wanted him to say in and make admiral but he and my mom had had enough. They said making admiral in those days was completely political and they were not like that. Submariners are a rare breed.


retired botanist September 23, 2022 at 3:36 pm

Oh, so interesting Geoff that your Dad was in Holy Loch, likely when we were there, as we’re of similar age. The submarine tender was the Proteus, and all of the Polaris subs were named after US Presidents, Lincoln, Roosevelt etc. There was of course, no ‘base” or quarters, we lived in Dunoon in a house on the banks of the Clyde. Initially, the Scots were not happy with the US presence, but mellowed, and in fact were upset when they mysteriously disappeared overnight during the Cuban crisis.
In WWII, my Dad fought on a class of diesel subs built in New Hampshire naval shipyards- they all had the names of fish- Tilefish, Filefish and so on, and patrolled the Japanese waters.

And to those below that cough up “Freedom isn’t free” jargon, I can say this: Children who grow up in the military spend their entire childhoods “in service”; their sacrifices are many, and lasting, and much, much longer than a single tour of duty. For education on this point, I’d direct them to watch the documentary “Our Journey Home”….


Geoff Page September 23, 2022 at 3:48 pm

Wow, I think the Proteus was the ship my dad served on that name really rang a bell! You were lucky you got to live overseas like that, we never made it farther than Hawaii. My dad served on subs named after fish but I can’t recall the names now, for some reason the Redfish comes to mind. And, boy do I agree with your last paragraph. I actually sent away for several books a few years ago to read stories from military kids. Growing up like that has affected my whole life and I’m sure it is the same for many others. I’ll check out the one you posted.


Frank Gormlie September 23, 2022 at 4:32 pm

I’m also a military brat, army. We were posted in Bragg, Bavaria and Bangkok.


retired botanist September 23, 2022 at 5:47 pm

Nice to connect on that, Frank! For other readers: kids in the military are referred to as “brats” (which is, originally, a military term for “British Regiment Attached Travelers”), but now we more commonly associate ourselves as TCKs, which is Third Culture Kids. The acronym reflects the fact that, as ever moving nomads, whether in different states or different countries, we had to assimilate into the environments in which our parents served, and we were always expected to tow whatever line that required. As Frank and Geoff will understand, this meant repeated re-invention of ourselves, the chronic sacrifice of friends, schools, home roots, accumulated material ephemera, and many other relinquishments of our upbringing. The docu I reference above, Brats: Our Journey Home, was directed by a fellow brat Donna Musil, and is narrated by Kris Kristofferson (also a TCK) and provides an insightful and poignant look at the journey and consequences of that lifestyle for those of us who basically served in the military as children. Circling back to the subject at hand, we, perhaps more than others, understand and appreciate the symbolism of military ritual and performance, but we want to see our military expressed in more meaningful, constructive and positive performances than airshows. :-)


judi September 22, 2022 at 11:16 am

Good article, Gary. Hope that the folks at Channel 8 read it because their anchors are promoting the airshow, even to riding along with the pilots in their training. It’s like the Sea World fireworks show – people just do not want to accept the dangers to the environment and negate the true facts.


Frank Gormlie September 23, 2022 at 7:33 am

At the end of today’s U-T article on the airshow, the Vets for Peace are mentioned and their reasons for boycotting the event are given.


Alex September 24, 2022 at 9:30 am

There is no such thing as “true facts”…by definition, facts ARE true.


Albion September 23, 2022 at 12:42 am

Freedom isn’t free you socialist scumfucks! I hope you don’t fly on an airplane or driver a car ever since you’ll be polluting the environment . Dumbfucks!


Gilbert E Field September 23, 2022 at 7:36 am

Our “freedom” is not enhanced by this totally unnecessary and terribly polluting air show. The military saws it has embraced climate change but does not appear to in this instance.


Sorry not Sorry September 23, 2022 at 7:40 am

Bro, do you even english?


Chris September 23, 2022 at 8:52 am

How do you driver a car?


Ramoaner September 23, 2022 at 9:10 am

“Freedom isn’t free , pay your taxes”


kh September 23, 2022 at 10:11 am

This article reads as if this is pollution for the sake of pollution.

I believe it’s a recruitment tool, an entertainment venue, possibly with a profit motive, and hopefully some training benefit to the pilots and crews.

The question really is whether the benefits outweigh the damage.. I know some of these aircraft just inhale and belch out pollution like no other.

I’m curious how the environmental impact if annual air shows in general compare to say a football or Nascar season. Or half the people in the country having pets. All of these are vanity and all of them negatively impact the environment. Should they all be cancelled too? Certainly the earth would be happier if we just spent every day quietly at home growing vegetable gardens, but I wouldn’t.


retired botanist September 23, 2022 at 6:08 pm

Kh, as someone who doesn’t follow football or nascar, and doesn’t have a pet, not going to judge on that, but the inference is probably obvious, lol. Rather, I’d pick as an analogy something such as viewing large animals in tanks and cages. Should we cancel those? Yes, imo. The justifications (like breeding programs) for large animals in captivity, whether its performing seals, elephants in a circus, or polar bears in San Diego, its just hideous that we’ve evolved so much farther intellectually, yet continue to hang onto practices that are simply not justifiable in today’s world. “Educational” is often code speak for “profit entertainment”. The same could be said of firework pageants… I know folks will say “Geez, what a Debbie Downer, are we not allowed entertainment at all anymore?!” Yes, the air shows are clearly in part recruitment, much smaller part training. I’m not saying throw the baby out with the bathwater. There are just so many other, more positive and relevant ways to entice the public to plug in to those disciplines. :-)


unwashedwalmartThonG September 23, 2022 at 11:22 am

‘Zakly, freedom isn’t free. And it’s especially not free & very expensive in these United States if you are gay, trans, a woman or a minority.


David B Parrish September 23, 2022 at 6:47 pm

One of Biden’s home vacations burns more carbon than the Miramar air show. Get real, this is my home town and why I put my life on the line for you bastards that just sit at home while I was in the middle East defending you. You need to realize what your priorities are, there are people that want you dead just because they have been told that you are stealing their food and oil. We are at war with evil. Wake up, travel and have your eyes open and be thankful!!!!


Chris September 24, 2022 at 7:58 am

As a vet to another vet, seriously get over yourself. I don’t know what branch you were in or what your rate/MOS was but I always notice that guys who rant about how they are defending our freedom worked in jobs far away from the front line and not really in harms way. That’s ok too because all jobs are important. I was a PN and over 900 miles away from the fighting when I was in “theater”. Guys who DID experience actual combat tend to be the last to boast about how they “put their life on the line for you bastards back home”. Whether or not you did you did, your whole point is still ridiculous and kind of embarrassing. If you like the air show and want it to remain, just say so and give reasons why.


unwashedwalmarTthong September 26, 2022 at 10:54 pm

Jesustits, where did this anger derive?
Geez, Dave, thank you so much for riding over to Afghanistan & helping the U.S. spend about a trillion dollars on a country after the U.S. military invaded it.
Geez, Dave, thank you so much for riding over to Iraq & helping the
U. S. spend about a trillion dollars on a country after they invaded it.
Maybe you were at Nisour Square.
Maybe you were there for the massacre at Fallujah; thanks for that one. Good job, lots of death.
Geez, Dave, thanks for helping to kill all those Iraqi civilians. Geez, Dave, thanks for “killing them over there, so they don’t kill us over here.” Geez, Dave, were you there when Bush Daddy Fascist sent about 30 thousand troops to Panama to bring in Noriega?
Geez, Dave, were you that guy who kept sending me draft notices in the early seventies? I wasn’t sitting on my couch as the U.S. sent thousands of U.S. soldiers to the Viet Nam Debacle Theater. Geez, Dave, about 58,000 troops died in the Viet Nam Debacle. Dave, just to let you know, every time you sent a draft notice to my residence, I moved. I moved quite a lot in those days. And I was never drafted; and I never made it to the Viet Nam Debacle; and here I am able to sit & thank you personally (almost), for fighting evil.
Is that evil like in a troll-style evil? Or is it more like the Devil – style evil? Or is it more like Aaron Burr type of evil? KKK evil? Praying Mantis Ron DeSantis evil?


Eric B September 23, 2022 at 9:31 pm

Stop all war parades! What a waste of money.


Frances O'Neill Zimmerman September 24, 2022 at 3:31 pm

What a great conversation in this Navy town’s liveliest newspaper edited by an Army brat (with thanks for explaining that word’s origins.)

There’s a lot the matter with our grotesque overspending on the military — um, I mean the Defense budget — and our continuing to act as Policeman of the World (and number one Global Arms Purveyor.) And with the spillover of militarism into baseball Sundays and NFL halftime shows and public school ROTC proselytizing. And with the harm done to domestic initiatives like human services, health care and strengthening public education. And I am grateful to the Vets for Peace for their vigils, constancy and message.

But I will say the one time I attended the Miramar Air Show it was hands down absolutely thrilling and if I can figure out where to park, I will take my two grandsons to see it before they graduate from high school.


sealintheselkirks September 25, 2022 at 1:21 am

Let’s get back to the original name! War Department is far more appropriate as most of the time it’s obviously not about ‘defense’ at all. It’s about ego, stealing resources, but the US is really good at supporting ‘our’ murderous dictators in 3rd world counties after we get rid of ‘their’ murderous dictators that won’t do what our politicians tell them to do though then we have to get rid of them when they stop obeying and put in a new one… I know, always cynical but historically accurate!

And while we’re at it, probably should get rid of the term ‘budget’ too, because what the Pentagon does is nothing like what I learned a ‘budget’ is supposed to do! Bluntly, the US military is running amok and impoverishing this country in my opinion. Of course I could link a bunch of articles explaining why this is so… but just look back at the Ernie/ROTC in schools postings.
retired: It would also be nice if the military would quit blowing up countries and murdering people that never attacked the US I would think…

My oldest grandpa (my last name is from him) lived his life after AEF Army in WWI with a serious case of ‘Shell Shock.’ He lived in a little apartment in North Park until he died but he told stories… Two other grandpas, one a Sea-Bee building forward airstrips on little islands still full of Japs firefights/night raids etc etc. And the other was an Army combat island-hopping throughout WWII as alcoholics with serious cases of ‘Combat Fatigue.’ They saw too much. My dad was Army during Korea and discharged from Camp Stewart to marry my mom whom he had met on leave in San Diego. One grandpa and my dad always referred to USN types as Squids, swabbies, and navy pukes…which never failed to get a rise out of the 3rd grandpa.



Chris September 25, 2022 at 7:50 am

It’s sort of a doubled edged sword. Despite all promotion of war and militarism and waste of money, fuel, resources, the Blue Angles are pretty amazing to watch.


Frank Gormlie September 25, 2022 at 10:46 am

Reportedly, 10% of Blue Angels pilots have been killed in accidents. “During the Blue Angels history, 27 Blue Angels pilots have been killed in air show or training accidents. Through the 2017 season, there have been 261 pilots in the squadron’s history, giving the job a roughly 10% fatality rate.”


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