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.
Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Siobhana R. McEwen
Since sequestration began in 2013, the reduced number of hours flown by pilots, crews trained, and aircraft maintained has created a major problem: a lack of flight readiness across all the services. While the effect of budget constraints was not at first apparent, a rise in-flight mishaps, decreases in pilot retention, and increases in the number of aircraft that simply can’t fly have made it clear to policymakers that U.S. air superiority is suffering.