A West Coast Marine Corps training squadron is investigating a pair of flight patterns flown over a lake in California on Tuesday that resemble male genitalia.
Marine officials confirmed that a T-34C aircraft with Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 101 "flew an irregular flight pattern over the Salton Sea that resembled a phallic image." The two-seat, low-wing turboprop aircraft is used by the Navy and Marine Corps to train new pilots.
The flight pattern, spotted over a saline lake about 120 miles outside San Diego, was captured by Aircraft Spots, which monitors military air movements on Twitter. An image of the pattern was posted to the social media site on Tuesday afternoon.
Somebody needs to have a word with the crew of US Navy T-34C 160937 SHUTR91 out of MCAS Miramar 😂😂 pic.twitter.com/WgrgkKzRln— Aircraft Spots (@AircraftSpots) October 23, 2018
Maj. Josef Patterson, a spokesman for 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, said in a statement that an investigation to uncover the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident is ongoing.
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"The aircrew's chain of command are committed to maintaining an environment of professionalism, dignity and respect," Patterson said. "The Marines and Sailors of 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing will perform at the highest levels expected of professional war fighters, and uphold our core values of honor, courage and commitment."
VMFAT-101 is based out of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California.
This isn't the first time the military has opened an investigation into questionable sky patterns. In December, two naval aviators were punished for a skywriting stint near Naval Air Station Whidbey Island in Washington.
In that case, the aviators with Electronic Attack Squadron 130 used an EA-18G Growler aircraft to draw a depiction of a penis in the sky, which was captured on cellphone cameras and posted on social media. Both faced administrative punishment from Vice Adm. Mike Shoemaker, commander of Naval Air Forces.
They were allowed to retain their status as aviators.