May 31, 2022 - News

Fighter jet planes source of mysterious noise in Des Moines

F-35 fighter jet plane
Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II flies in Spangdahlem, Germany. Photo: Dietmar Pohlmann/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

The mystery behind the loud and strange noise that shook Des Moines homes Monday night is finally solved.

The culprits: Four fighter jet planes — two F-35s and two F-18s — heading to the Des Moines Airport to prepare for a flyover for a Vietnam War veteran, according to the Iowa National Guard.

Driving the news: A thunderstorm rolled through the city on Monday. And then — a mysterious, loud and rumbling noise started around 11pm on the west side of Des Moines and steadily made its way towards the airport.

  • After receiving many emails from readers, Axios Des Moines contacted multiple state and local agencies about the source of the eerie sound.

What we found: The Iowa National Guard told Axios that four fighter jets came from Leemore, California, on Monday to flyover the burial for 82-year-old Larry Spencer, who was laid to rest on Tuesday in Van Meter.

  • Spencer, who grew up in Earlham, spent nearly seven years as a prisoner of war after he was captured while on a reconnaissance escort mission in North Vietnam in 1966, according to his obituary.
  • He was one of the first prisoners of war to return from Vietnam and he went on to continue serving in the U.S. Navy, earning many military honors until his retirement as a commander in 1985.

What they're saying: Being a POW between the ages of 25 and 33 gave Spencer a new outlook on life.

  • "His unique learning experience gave base for his entire life and was a determining factor for how he lived each day," according to his obituary.

✈️ Thought bubble: Fly high, Commander Spencer.

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