Officials from the United States Navy have confirmed to PEOPLE that one of their aircrafts was responsible for drawing a giant penis in the sky on Thursday.
In a statement to PEOPLE, Lt. Cmdr. Leslie Hubbell — Whidbey Island’s media officer — confirmed that one of their aircrafts “flew an air pattern over Okanogan County, Wash., on Thursday, Nov. 16, that left a condensed air trail resembling an obscene image to observers on the ground.”
“The Officers and Sailors of the United States Navy are professionals, held to the highest standards, while serving our nation with pride around the world. The actions of this aircrew were wholly unacceptable and antithetical to Navy core values. We have grounded the aircrew and are conducting a thorough investigation,” Hubbell continued.
Hubbell also went on to apologize on behalf of the Navy “for this irresponsible and immature act, and anyone who was offended by this unacceptable action.”
In a separate statement, Vice Admiral Mike Shoemaker said that “This event clearly stands in stark contrast to the way our aviators and Sailors are performing with utmost professionalism, discipline and excellence from our carrier flight decks and expeditionary airfields around the world today.”
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The explicit skywriting was first noticed by residents of Okanogan County, Washington, on Thursday, with some residents posting photos on Twitter and complaining to local news stations. KREM 2 reported that one woman called saying she was upset because thanks to the explicit image, she might have to explain male anatomy to her young children.
But despite the complaints, on Friday a Federal Aviation Administration official told KREM 2 that since the drawing didn’t pose a safety risk, there was nothing they could do, adding that the FAA can’t police morality.
However, while some people were offended, others thought the explicit skywriting was hilarious — including Stephen Colbert.
“Warm thanks to our Navy for this heartfelt salute to the president,” the comedian wrote alongside a photo of the giant penis.