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Pilots Tell Navy They're Going On Strike Until Dangerous Jets Get Fixed
Since last week, more than 100 instructor pilots in multiple squadrons throughout the Navy’s aviation pipeline have refused to fly their T-45 trainer jets until the service addresses rampant problems with the aircraft’s life-support system that can cause oxygen poisoning, Fox News reports.
“It’s the admirals… the people that have the power to fix it that aren’t doing a damn thing,” one instructor pilot told the network.
Hundreds of student naval aviators from the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard — including 1st Lt. Michael Pence, the son of Vice President Mike Pence — have had training flights scrubbed as a result of the instructors’ strike at the Navy’s T-45 Goshawk squadrons, based in Meridian, Mississippi; Kingsville, Texas; and Pensacola, Florida.
A Navy representative told Fox News that “40 percent of instructor pilots refused to fly their training flights Friday,” but “a flight instructor said the number was closer to 75 percent, because the Navy reduced the flight schedule knowing more than half the pilots would refuse to fly.”
At issue is a series of incidents in which Goshawk pilots experienced a special form of hypoxia, in which the blood can’t get enough oxygen. That can result in disorientation, incapacitation and death. Such incidents have quadrupled in the last five years, according to Fox News:
Last week, a student from training squadron VT-86 in Pensacola, Fla., had to be “dragged out” of his jet because he became “incapacitated” from the faulty oxygen system, according to two flight instructors.
In March, a British exchange instructor pilot with thousands of hours in the cockpit had to conduct an emergency landing during a training flight near Meridian, Miss., after both he and his student experienced hypoxic symptoms.
In August, a flight instructor and his student were forced to eject near Kingsville, Texas, when they felt symptoms of hypoxia, crashing the multi-million dollar jet. Both pilots ejected safely and were not seriously injured.
Last month, there were 10 episodes in T-45s…
To its credit, striking pilots say, the Navy has been generally sympathetic to their cause, with most commanders “telling their instructors to follow their instincts — and not forcing them to fly,” Fox News reports.
Nevertheless, politicians want a fix, fast — “There are problems that are being covered up,” Republican Rep. Mac Thornberry of Texas, the House Armed Services Committee chairman, told Fox News — and Navy and civilian researchers haven’t yet figured out how to stop the problems. “We have been working this for five, six years now to try to get to the bottom of this,” a Navy official told Fox News.
Meanwhile, similar oxygen-deprivation “physiological episodes” have also exploded in pilots of the Navy’s keystone fighter aircraft, the F-18 Super Hornet. In congressional hearings last week, Navy officials revealed that the Hornet and its electronic-warfare counterpart, the EA-18G Growler, had had nearly 400 critical incidents in recent years, most involving oxygen contamination or cabin-pressure problems.
Hopefully, the U.S. won't end up in any (more) wars soon — at least not until the Pentagon develops a fix, or fighter pilots who don't breathe oxygen.
Former Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, whom President Donald Trump recently pardoned of his 2013 murder conviction, claims he was nothing more than a pawn whom generals sacrificed for political expediency.
The infantry officer had been sentenced to 19 years in prison for ordering his soldiers to open fire on three unarmed Afghan men in 2012. Two of the men were killed.
During a Monday interview on Fox & Friends, Lorance accused his superiors of betraying him.
"A service member who knows that their commanders love them will go to the gates of hell for their country and knock them down," Lorance said. "I think that's extremely important. Anybody who is not part of the senior Pentagon brass will tell you the same thing."
"I think folks that start putting stars on their collar — anybody that has got to be confirmed by the Senate for a promotion — they are no longer a soldier, they are a politician," he continued. "And so I think they lose some of their values — and they certainly lose a lot of their respect from their subordinates — when they do what they did to me, which was throw me under the bus."
Fifteen years after the U.S. military toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein, the Army's massive two-volume study of the Iraq War closed with a sobering assessment of the campaign's outcome: With nearly 3,500 U.S. service members killed in action and trillions of dollars spent, "an emboldened and expansionist Iran appears to be the only victor.
Thanks to roughly 700 pages of newly-publicized secret Iranian intelligence cables, we now have a good idea as to why.
BANGKOK (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Mark Esper expressed confidence on Sunday in the U.S. military justice system's ability to hold troops to account, two days after President Donald Trump pardoned two Army officers accused of war crimes in Afghanistan.
Trump also restored the rank of a Navy SEAL platoon commander who was demoted for actions in Iraq.
Asked how he would reassure countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq in the wake of the pardons, Esper said: "We have a very effective military justice system."
"I have great faith in the military justice system," Esper told reporters during a trip to Bangkok, in his first remarks about the issue since Trump issued the pardons.
For one veteran who fought through the crossfires of German heavy machine guns in the D-Day landings, receiving a Congressional Gold Medal on behalf of his service and that of his World War II comrades would be "quite meaningful."
Bills have been introduced in the House and Senate to award the Army Rangers of World War II the medal, the highest civilian award bestowed by the United States, along with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
An airman at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base was arrested and charged with murder on Sunday after a shooting at a Raleigh night club that killed a 21-year-old man, the Air Force and the Raleigh Police Department said.