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75% Of Marine Corps Hornets Cannot Fly Right Now
Roughly 25 percent of the Marines’ 280 F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets could fly now if needed, the top aviation Marine said Wednesday.
Only 72 “could take off today, this morning, right now,” said Lt. Gen. Jon Davis, deputy commandant for Marine Corps aviation. Of the rest, 109 are in longer-term, scheduled depot work and 99 are temporarily offline for less complex maintenance, or because they are awaiting a spare part, he said.
Davis said the lack of spare parts continues to be the biggest challenge the Marines face in having more Hornets ready to fly.
Of the 72 available aircraft, 56 Hornets are committed to active-duty squadrons and the remainder are with training or reserve units, Davis said.
The 56 active-duty aircraft are about 20 short of what Davis said those units need for squadron pilots to stay fully trained.
“We’ve got a lot less inventory and a lot less units,” he said. “I’ve never seen the Marine Corps as operationally deployed and out there as we are in a sustained fashion ... probably since Desert Storm.”
Constant wartime missions have pushed Hornets to the end of their planned service faster than expected. An investigation by Stars and Stripes in September found decreased funding and fewer aircraft have led to a lack of training flight hours, which contributed to a spike in Hornet crashes in 2016.
The Marines lost five aircraft and three pilots -- Maj. Richard Norton, 36, Capt. Jake Frederick, 32, and Capt. Jeff Kuss, 32 – in Hornet crashes in 2016.
The Marines will request additional funds to buy parts and restore more of the Hornets, Davis said.
“Our need to recapitalize airplanes is large – certainly on the F-18 side,” he said.
©2017 the Stars and Stripes. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
A massive billing glitch in Tricare's East region, managed by Humana, on Thursday slammed about 25,000 beneficiaries with premium charges 100 times more than they owe monthly for their coverage.
A Minnesota Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter with three Guardsmen aboard crashed south of St. Cloud on Thursday, said National Guard spokeswoman Army Master Sgt. Blair Heusdens.
At this time, the National Guard is not releasing any information about the status of the three people aboard the helicopter, Heusdens told Task & Purpose on Thursday.
A missing Canadian ex-soldier was reportedly smuggled across the US border and is hiding with a neo-Nazi group
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Business Insider.
Former Canadian Army Reserve Master Cpl. Patrik Mathews, 26, was first identified as a member of The Base by Winnipeg Free Press reporter Ryan Thorpe.
Days after Thorpe's report was published, Mathews went missing and was discharged from the military for his alleged ties to the group. His car was found about 10 miles from the U.S. border soon thereafter, and police found a cache of weapons when they raided his home.
Vice reporters Ben Makuch, Mack Lamoureux, and Zachary Kamel, citing confidential sources, reported on Thursday that Mathews had been illegally smuggled across the border and is being hidden by members of The Base, which has operated in encrypted chatrooms as a largely online organization.
The Pentagon's latest attempt to twist itself in knots to deny that it is considering sending up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East has a big caveat.
Pentagon spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said there are no plans to send that many troops to the region "at this time."
Farah's statement does not rule out the possibility that the Defense Department could initially announce a smaller deployment to the region and subsequently announce that more troops are headed downrange.
The Navy could deploy a second carrier to the Middle East if Trump orders an Iran surge, top admiral says
The Navy could send a second aircraft carrier to the Middle East if President Donald Trump orders a surge of forces to the region, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday said on Thursday.
Gordon Lubold and Nancy Youssef of the Wall Street Journal first reported the United States is considering sending up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East to deter Iran from attacking U.S. forces and regional allies. The surge forces could include several ships.