After two deadly air accidents in recent weeks, the Marine Corps on Friday ordered its aviation units to briefly ground their aircraft, review the safety of their operations, and study past failures to glean lessons from them.
Gen. Robert Neller, commandant of the Marine Corps, directed the units to conduct an “operational reset,” a 24-hour period without flights, at some time within the next two weeks. Spreading the pauses over two weeks will limit the number of aircraft that will be grounded at any one time during a time of great tension in several parts of the world, notably on the Korean Peninsula.
In a brief statement, the Marines said that each unit’s commander would decide when to suspend flight operations, timing the move to minimize disruption.
Units deployed from their home bases, including those close to war zones and potential trouble spots overseas, can ask for an extension of the two-week time frame.
The Marines did not say what prompted the order. It followed the crash of a Marine MV-22 Osprey on Aug. 5 in the Pacific Ocean off Australia that left three Marines missing and presumed dead; and the crash of a Marine KC-130T transport plane on July 10 in Mississippi, which killed 16 service members.
During the reset, flying units will “study historical examples of completed investigations in order to bring awareness and best practices to the fleet,” the statement said. That would not include the recent accidents, which remain under investigation.
The different service branches occasionally call such pauses; the Marines said that their last one was in August 2016.
New York Times