Camp Pendleton

US Marine Corps Orders 1-Day Pause for Aircraft After Deadly, Costly Crashes

The stand-down was ordered following six "Class-A mishaps" that have taken place this year "resulting in nine fatalities and the destruction of four aircraft."

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The assistant commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps announced Monday a planned safety stand down for all Marine Corps aircraft later this month, citing a series of six major aircraft incidents this year.

In a message sent to all Marine Aircraft Wing units via the Marine Corps safety management system, all units were ordered to conduct a one-day safety stand down between June 21 and July 1, 2022.

"Now is an appropriate time to take a day to conduct a Safety Stand Down, review best practices, and focus on areas where we can improve in order to ensure our units remain capable, safe, and ready," the order by Gen. Eric M. Smith read.

The stand down was ordered following six "Class-A mishaps" that have taken place this year "resulting in nine fatalities and the destruction of four aircraft."

According to the Marine Corps' Aviation Mishap Classification and Reporting Requirements, a "Class-A" mishap is one that results in $2.5 million in property damage and/or causes fatalities or injury that is equal to permanent total disability.

The most recent incident occurred on June 8, when a Marine Corps MV-22B Osprey crashed during a training mission over the Imperial County desert. This crash claimed the lives of five Camp Pendleton-based Marine Aircraft Group 39 Marines.

Two of the incidents referenced occurred in March.

First, on March 3, a 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing F/A-18D Hornet crashed while on a routine flight in Beaufort, South Carolina. Both Marines on board the jet were able to eject and were left uninjured.

Later that month, a Marine Corps MV-22B Osprey went down during a NATO training exercise in Norway, resulting in the death of four Marines assigned to the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing based in North Carolina.

Other incidents included in the list of serious mishaps include when a CH-53E Super Stallion experienced an "aviation ground mishap" on February 16, 2022, and when an F-35B experienced engine damage on January 27, 2022, during a "post-maintenance ground turn," both at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma.

Neither of these incidents resulted in any injuries.

The sixth incident referenced took place on January 6, 2022, at New Jersey's Joint Base McGuire, when a 4th Marine Aircraft Wing Bell AH-1Z Viper helicopter crashed on final approach during training. The two individuals on board only sustained minor injuries.

The stand downs are expected to "reinforce proper procedures, provide information, and gather feedback from all involved units."

Just one day prior to the Marine Corps announcement, The U.S. Navy issued Sunday, a "safety pause" for all non-deployed aircraft following a pair of naval aircraft crashes in Southern California this month.

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