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The Military's Aviation Crisis Is Definitely 'Not A Crisis,' Pentagon Insists
Less than a week after nine Puerto Rico National Guard airmen with the 156th Airlift Wing were killed in the crash of their WC-130 in Savannah, Georgia, the Department of Defense is really sticking to its talking point that no, there is no military aviation crisis, and yes, everything is just fine, thanks!
- "This is not a crisis," Pentagon Press Secretary Dana White said told reporters on May 3. “But it is a crisis for each of these families, and we owe them a full investigation, and to understand what’s going on. But these are across services, and these are different individuals and different circumstances."
- "We’re not out of the norm at all," Navy Secretary Richard Spencer told reporters on May 2 regarding Navy aviation mishaps just hours after the WC-130 crash.
- Bullshit. A thorough Military Times investigation reveals that both the number of Class A military aviation mishaps and service members killed hit a six-year high this year, with 35 pilots and aircrew lost in 12 fatal accidents since the start of the fiscal year back in October. Indeed, aviation mishaps increased by a whopping 40% between fiscal 2013 and 2017.
Flames and smoke rise from an Air National Guard C-130 cargo plane after it crashed near Savannah, Ga., Wednesday, May 2, 2018.Associated Press/James Lavine
- Aviation mishaps currently kill more troops than Afghanistan. As T&P;'s Paul Szoldra observed back last month, Class A aviation mishaps claimed the lived of 47 service members between April 2017 and April 2018; that's 50% more than the 31 troops who died while serving in Afghanistan under Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.
- Trend? What trend? Playing dumb won't satisfy lawmakers. During an intense House Armed Services Committee hearing on aviation mishaps on April 12, Naval Air Systems Command chief Vice. Adm. Paul Grosklags insisted that "each one of those mishaps will have a unique cause, so there’s not a universal panacea" — a claim lawmakers quickly rebuked.
- “I don’t buy that ― that it is merely just individual incidences,” Rep. Mike Turner, Republican from Ohio and chairman of the HASC subcommittee on tactical air and land forces, responded to Grosklags. “If you have vehicular accidents that occur at a particular intersection repeatedly, they each have their own story. But, at times, there is something wrong with the intersection.”
White and Spencers' lines mesh nicely with Secretary of Defense James Mattis' March 2017 guidance, which suggests DoD spinmasters “be cautious about publicly telegraphing readiness shortfalls" in the name of operational security: "While it can be tempting during budget season to publicly highlight readiness problems, we have to remember that our adversaries watch the news too."
Does OPSEC really trump acknowledging and addressing systemic aviation issues? I suspect those 9 airmen who died in that WC-130 crash last week might disagree — if they could.
A U.S.S. Manchester, CL-83, hat firmly tucked on his head, John Ronney, pierced the collar of his granddaughter, Jennifer Rooney's new rank during a special pinning ceremony at Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune on Sept. 25.
By Rooney's side was his son and Jennifer's father Robert, a Navy veteran. Together, three Navy veterans brought together for military tradition.
"They are the two people who taught me everything I needed to know about the Navy," said Jennifer.
CAMP PENDLETON — The military prosecution of a Coast Guardsman accused of murder began Wednesday with a preliminary hearing at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.
Seaman Ethan W. Tucker, 21, was arrested August 28 after a seven-month Coast Guard investigation into the January death of Seaman Ethan Kelch, 19, who served on the same ship as Tucker— the Kodiak, Alaska-based high endurance cutter Douglas Munro.
ANKARA (Reuters) - President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday Turkey would press on with its offensive into northeastern Syria and "crush the heads of terrorists" if a deal with Washington on the withdrawal of Kurdish fighters from the area were not fully implemented.
Erdogan agreed on Thursday in talks with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence a five-day pause in the offensive to allow time for the Kurdish fighters to withdraw from a "safe zone" Turkey aims to establish in northeast Syria near the Turkish border.
President Trump stoked confusion Friday by declaring the U.S. has "secured the Oil" in the Middle East amid continued fallout from the Turkish invasion of northern Syria that he enabled by pulling American troops out of the region.
It wasn't immediately clear what the president was talking about, as there were no publicly known developments in Syria or elsewhere in the Middle East relating to oil. White House aides did not return requests for comment.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. State Department investigation of Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while she was secretary of state has found no evidence of deliberate mishandling of classified information by department employees.
The investigation, the results of which were released on Friday by Republican U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley's office, centered on whether Clinton, who served as the top U.S. diplomat from 2009 to 2013, jeopardized classified information by using a private email server rather than a government one.