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Navy Finds Plane That Crashed Into Philippine Sea In November, Killing 3 Sailors
The Navy has located the C-2A Greyhound that crashed into the Philippine Sea in November, killing three sailors.
Deepwater-salvage experts operating out of a contracted salvage vessel found the aircraft Dec. 29 using a system to hone in on the downed plane’s emergency relocation pinger, said a Navy statement issued Friday.
The Greyhound is about 18,500 feet down, which would make the aircraft recovering operation the deepest ever attempted, the statement said. In the coming weeks, salvage teams will begin mapping the debris field and attaching heavy lines to the ship to bring the aircraft to the surface.
“Despite very challenging conditions, every effort will be made to recover the aircraft and our fallen sailors,” the statement said.
The Greyhound was carrying 11 passengers and cargo from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni to the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan when it crashed on Nov. 22. It was assigned to Carrier Air Wing 5, the aviation component of carrier’s strike group.
The Yokosuka-based Ronald Reagan was conducting an annual bilateral maritime field-training exercise with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force at the time of the incident.
Shortly after the crash, eight people were rescued by Navy Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 12. U.S. and Japanese ships and aircraft spent two days searching for the three missing sailors — Lt. Steven Combs, Seaman Matthew Chialastri and Seaman Apprentice Bryan Grosso — over an area of nearly 1,000 square nautical miles.
The Navy is considering a posthumous award for Combs, whose flying has been credited with possibly saving the lives of the other passengers.
“Lt. Combs’ co-pilot was effusive in his praise. He said, ‘He flew the hell out of that plane,’” Navy Cmdr. Ronald Flanders, a spokesman for Naval Air Forces, told Stars and Stripes. “It was heroic. A remarkable piece of flying that was instrumental in saving eight lives.”
The Navy has yet to announce the official cause of the crash. It appears the Greyhound suffered a rare double engine failure, two Navy officials previously told Stars and Stripes on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation. The officials said it was unclear what would have caused the engines to fail.
The crash capped off a deadly year for the Navy’s Japan-based 7th Fleet that included a series of high-profile accidents and mishaps. In January, the USS Antietam ran aground and spilled roughly 1,100 gallons of hydraulic fluid into Tokyo Bay; in June, a collision between the USS Fitzgerald and a merchant ship killed seven sailors; and in August, the USS John S. McCain ran into an oil tanker, killing 10 more.
©2018 the Stars and Stripes. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
Senior defense officials offered a wide range of excuses to reporters on Wednesday about why they may not comply with a subpoena from House Democrats for documents related to the ongoing impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
On Oct. 7, lawmakers subpoenaed information about military aid to Ukraine. Eight days later, a Pentagon official told them to pound sand in part because many of the documents requested are communications with the White House that are protected by executive privilege.
Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) will announce legislation Wednesday aiming to "fix" a new Trump administration citizenship policy that affects some children of U.S. service members stationed abroad.
The inside story of how The Village People shot the Navy's most controversial recruiting video onboard an active warship
The video opens innocently enough. A bell sounds as we gaze onto a U.S. Navy frigate, safely docked at port at Naval Base San Diego. A cadre of sailors, dressed in "crackerjack" style enlisted dress uniforms and hauling duffel bags over their shoulders, stride up a gangplank aboard the vessel. The officer on deck greets them with a blast of a boatswain's call. It could be the opening scene of a recruitment video for the greatest naval force on the planet.
Then the rhythmic clapping begins.
This is no recruitment video. It's 'In The Navy,' the legendary 1979 hit from disco queens The Village People, shot aboard the very real Knox-class USS Reasoner (FF-1063) frigate. And one of those five Navy sailors who strode up that gangplank during filming was Ronald Beck, at the time a legal yeoman and witness to one of the strangest collisions between the U.S. military and pop culture of the 20th century.
"They picked the ship and they picked us, I don't know why," Beck, who left the Navy in 1982, told Task & Purpose in a phone interview from his Texas home in October. "I was just lucky to be one of 'em picked."
Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Tuesday casually brushed aside the disturbing news that, holy shit, MORE THAN 100 ISIS FIGHTERS HAVE ESCAPED FROM JAIL.
In an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, Esper essentially turned this fact into a positive, no doubt impressing public relations and political talking heads everywhere with some truly masterful spin.
"Of the 11,000 or so detainees that were imprisoned in northeast Syria, we've only had reports that a little more than a hundred have escaped," Esper said, adding that the Syrian Democratic Forces were continuing to guard prisons, and the Pentagon had not "seen this big prison break that we all expected."
Well, I feel better. How about you?
On Wednesday, the top U.S. envoy in charge of the global coalition to defeat ISIS said much the same, while adding another cherry on top: The United States has no idea where those 100+ fighters went.
A senior administration official told reporters on Wednesday the White House's understanding is that the SDF continues to keep the "vast majority" of ISIS fighters under "lock and key."
"It's obviously a fluid situation on the ground that we're monitoring closely," the official said, adding that released fighters will be "hunted down and recaptured." The official said it was Turkey's responsibility to do so.
President Trump expressed optimism on Wednesday about what was happening on the ground in northeast Syria, when he announced that a ceasefire between Turkey and the Kurds was expected to be made permanent.
"Turkey, Syria, and all forms of the Kurds have been fighting for centuries," Trump said. "We have done them a great service and we've done a great job for all of them — and now we're getting out."
The president boasted that the U.S.-brokered ceasefire had saved the lives of tens of thousands of Kurds "without spilling one drop of American blood."
Kade Kurita, the 20-year-old West Point cadet who had been missing since Friday evening, was found dead on Tuesday night, the U.S. Military Academy announced early Wednesday morning.
"We are grieving this loss and our thoughts and prayers go out to Cadet Kurita's family and friends," Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams, superintendent of West Point, said in the release.