The US military has a proud tradition of drawing male genitalia in the skies over America. Technically, only one previous example comes to mind, but now a second has appeared, so we can call it a tradition practiced by the Marines and the Navy.
USA Today reports that the US Marine Corps launched an investigation after the plane-drawn penis popped up on Twitter on Tuesday. The phallus actually wasn't even visible with the naked eye and required flight-tracking software to appreciate its majesty. That didn't stop Aircraft Spots, a Twitter account devoted to documenting military flights, from spotting it and sharing it with the world.
The Twitter account originally stated this was a Navy flight, but that's since been corrected. As of now, it's unclear whether the pilot of the route over California's Salton Sea was an instructor or in training.
"Obscene or inappropriate actions, flight or not, do not reflect the core values we hold as Marines," Maj. Josef Patterson, a spokesman for 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, which the plane came from, told NBC 7 San Diego. They don't seem to see the humor in this.
A statement from the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing was also released: “A T-34C aircraft assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 101, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, flew an irregular flight pattern over the Salton Sea that resembled a phallic image. An investigation to uncover the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident is ongoing. The aircrew’s chain of command are committed to maintaining an environment of professionalism, dignity and respect. 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.”
It's likely that the artist will face disciplinary action.
h/t USA Today, Task & Purpose