Camp Pendleton

Families of Camp Pendleton Marines killed in 2022 Osprey crash to attend House hearing

The hearing aims to explore “the numerous deadly Osprey crashes, the risks it presents to service members, and why the Osprey is consistently grounded"

NBC Universal, Inc.

It's been a little more than two years since an MV-22 Osprey crash near Glamis, California, killed five Camp Pendleton Marines during a training exercise.

"He was what I would describe as a very kind, thoughtful soul," Michelle Strickland said about her 19-year-old son Lance Cpl. Evan Strickland. "He had this zest for life."

Michelle and Brett Strickland, who served in the Air Force, are still looking for answers to the crash that took the life of their son.

“He was always fascinated about being able to be that person coming in, you know, whether it's bringing in relief or helping to get, you know, injured people out of dangerous situations. That's one of the things that he was looking forward to the most, was those humanitarian missions," explained Evan’s father, Brett.

The Stricklands are traveling from New Mexico to our nation's capital, hoping to get those answers. They are attending the Subcommittee on National Security, the Border and Foreign Affairs hearing on Wednesday. The hearing will address oversight and safety concerns regarding the Department of Defense's Osprey program.

"Honestly, I hope to hear some answers. I hope to hear that there is going to be some serious oversight," Brett said.

The hearing comes after the Stricklands and the families of three other Camp Pendleton-based Marines who were killed in the Osprey crash filed a federal suit against several of its manufacturers in May. 

A Marine Corp investigation into the crash concluded the Osprey experienced a dual hard-clutch engagement, leading to a "catastrophic" situation that the Marines on board could do nothing about.

“Bell-Boeing has been aware of hard clutch engagement problems in the V-22 Ospreys since 2010,” said Tim Loranger with Wisner Baum, who’s representing the Marines’ families. “Here we are more than a dozen years later, and that knowledge hasn’t resulted in a solution, and the malfunction has continued to cost lives.”

“Our goal for, you know, Michelle and I, was never to ground the Osprey,” explained Brett. "It was always about making it safer for those that still have to fly, so we hope that this oversight will actually do that."

According to the Associated Press, more than 50 service members have been killed in accidents on board Ospreys since 2000.

The Stricklands have started a podcast called "Remember Them."

They're hoping the suit and Wednesday’s hearing will prompt accountability so that their son, who they say joined the military to do good, will do so even after his death.

“We don't want to see another family have to get that knock at the door and go through what we've experienced because it's not something that, you know, you wish on anybody,” Michelle said.

The families will not be speaking at Wednesday's hearing, but they'll have the opportunity to submit statements.

The U.S. Military grounded the entire fleet of about 400 Ospreys after one crashed last November in Japan. Eight airmen were killed.

Contact Us