A staggering report from the Military Times concludes that accidents involving all aircraft of the U.S. military rose 40% between the 2013 to 2017 fiscal years, and that those accidents resulted in the deaths of at least 133 servicemembers.
Two soldiers were been killed when their AH-64E Apache helicopter crashed during an April 6 training flight at Fort Campbell, the latest in a string of military aircraft crashes that have killed a total of seven service members 0ver the course of four days.
On July 10, a KC-130 ferrying Marine Corps personnel and equipment from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point in North Carolina to Naval Air Facility El Centro in California exploded in mid-air over Mississippi, killing the 15 Marines — including six Marines from Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command — and one Navy corpsman on board. According to a Marine Corps public affairs officer, the incident marks the worst crash since a CH-53E Super Stallion crashed in Iraq in 2005, killing 30 Marines and one sailor.
On Dec. 13, when a Marine Corps MV-22B Osprey landed in the water just shy of Camp Schwab in Okinawa, it became yet another high-profile incident for an aircraft that has had more than its share. The aircraft is notorious after four high-profile mishaps during its development phase, including one that claimed the lives of 19 Marines in 2000. After that disaster, the Osprey program was revamped and the aircraft substantially redesigned. It became the mainstay of the Marines’ vertical lift and Air Force special operations.
Troops still have a chance in December to receive their highest pay raise in years, even if Congress goes ahead with plans to put off a vote on 2017 defense spending for months to accommodate President-elect Donald Trump.