Although Marines are known as 'the tip of the spear' some say the force is not always supported.
The vast majority of Marine Corps aircraft are unable to fly, raising grave concerns among top military personnel about pilot and aircraft safety and national security.
The reasons most of the fleet isn’t airworthy include the toll of long wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and federal budget cuts, Pentagon officials confirmed Friday.
U.S. Military spending went down about $131 billion between 2010 and 2015 just as planes, like F/A-18 Hornets that fly out of Miramar, are returning from the wear and tear of 15 years of war.
Only about 30 peercent of the Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornet strike fighters are ready to fly today according to statistics provided by the Marine Corps.
Only 42 of 147 heavy-lift CH-53E Super-Stallion helicopters are airworthy as well.
“You know our politicians want war, but they don't want to pay for it. They don't want to support anybody. If it comes out of somebody else's pocket, they would be happy, that's the way that goes. So my son's in the Navy so I understand,” San Diego resident Gary Fosgate said.
Pentagon officials confirmed the aircraft shortage means pilots are spending less time in the air.
F/A-18 Hornets are supposed to only fly 6,000 hours, but now that’s being pushed to 8,000. There’s even talk of extending it to 10,000 hours with Marines getting creative with repairs.
“Well I hope congress gets its act together and finds out a better way of doing its budget. National defense is a number one issue and that’s where they should have their focus,” Del Cerro resident Ron Seden told NBC 7.
The budget cuts have top military leadership concerned about safety.
NBC 7 reached out to members of our local congressional delegation and the Chair of the Armed Services Committee for comment but have not yet heard back.