Two U.S. Marine Corps pilots have been grounded after creating a pattern resemblingmale genitalia over California last month, with photos of the phallic-shaped flight pattern quickly making their way around the Internet, PEOPLE confirms.
An official with the Marine Corps tells PEOPLE that the two aviators are currently not allowed to fly while authorities look deeper into the Oct. 23 incident, in which the pilots allegedly drew the “obscene image” during a Marine training in Miramar, California, over the Salton Sea.
“Although not flying for the time being, the two Marine Corps aviators are still providing vital squadron ground support functions,” Lt. Zachary H. Bodner, a spokesman for the 3rd Marine Air Wing, said, tells PEOPLE.
“Disciplinary or administrative action, if any, will be determined following the completion of the investigation.”
The images were first spotted by the owners of the Aircraft Spot Twitter account, which uses flight-tracking software to monitor military flight patterns.
They quickly shared photos of the unusual path online, writing, “Somebody needs to have a word with the crew of US Navy T-34C 160937 SHUTR91 out of MCAS Miramar.”
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The tweet was shared more than 1,300 times and Patterson confirmed to PEOPLE then that the aircraft in the photos belonged to Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 101.
Patterson announced at the time that the military branch had launched an investigation into the incident.
“Obscene or inappropriate actions, flight or not, do not reflect the core values we hold as Marines,” Patterson told NBC 7 San Diego last month.
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