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You may have noticed the helicopters flying around last week, or you might just be accustomed to them.

But it never fails. Whenever something happens on the Arsenal that people can notice beyond the gates like helicopters flying or rocket engines booming, someone is going to reach out and ask what’s going on.

They call the Garrison Public Affairs Office. They comment on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. People send emails.

And inevitably, someone is going to answer them, and it’s going to get weird.

For example, take what this person did when they took to the Internet and wrote: “They were scanning homes for heat signatures and counting people in their homes.”

Was the author joking? We’ll never know.

Were the helicopters scanning homes and counting people? Who cares?

You should be filling out your 2020 Census form anyway.

Loud booms and helicopters hovering over your backyard are just part of living next to Redstone Arsenal.

In the words of Garrison Commander Col. Kelsey Smith, who is never short of a one-liner, “Pardon our thunder. It’s the sound of freedom.”

As an aside, during my short time at the Rocket, other memorable hits include: “When in doubt, whip it out,” which he used to drive home the point that people should wear masks when they encounter each other, and “Redstone Arsenal is the Area 51 of the South,” which I heard him say to a Rotary club when he was making the point that you should be interested in what happens on Redstone. The people out there are doing amazing work.

In a lot of ways, it’s the work that takes place on Redstone that’s allowed Huntsville to become what it has.

Redstone Arsenal has been making loud noises since 1941, so you’d think by the year 2020 it wouldn’t be a big deal, but that’s what I love about Huntsville – nobody is from Huntsville.

It’s always a shock to them.

When I moved back here a few years ago, I did what everybody else does when they don’t have a job waiting on them – I sold houses.

A lot of those houses were in South Huntsville, and I would always tell my clients, “Look, Redstone Arsenal is right down the road, and you’re going to hear some small explosions, frequently and some big explosions, occasionally, especially, during the day and it’s even louder when it’s cloudy. Make sure you do a good job of hanging stuff on your wall. Your walls will occasionally shake. Don’t worry though, most of the time they mean to make a big boom.”

I think I only had one or two buyers ever walk away because of that, but I never had any buyers call me after the sale closed to complain about it.

Here’s my point. The explosions can be annoying, but the benefits outweigh the costs. If you’re worried about government helicopters spying on you, then I’m more interested in knowing what exactly you’re doing that you think the government would be interested in.

That’s what I want to know.


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