On August 11th 2017 the United States Marine Corps (USMC) announced that a 24 hour “operational pause” has been instituted for all Marine Corps aircraft. The action was taken in part as a response to the two most recent Class A mishaps involving fatalities- the crash of the VMGR-452 Lockheed Martin KC-130T Hercules in Mississippi on July 10th 2017 resulting in 16 fatalities, and the crash of the VMM-265 Boeing MV-22B Osprey at sea off the coast of Australia on August 5th 2017 resulting in three fatalities.
This safety stand down will affect all Marine Corps aircraft but it has been stated that Marine Corps operational commitments will not be affected. Without getting into the politics of the decision, safety stand downs are a common occurrence after Class A mishaps and this one seems overdue. The previous grounding of the remaining Marine Corps Lockheed Martin KC-130T Hercules tankers was framed more as a cautionary move. This Corps-wide pause is believed to be intended to re-emphasize overall aviation safety.
The Marines operate a wide variety of aircraft ranging from fighter and attack aircraft to helicopters and tilt-rotor hybrids. The most recent additions to the Marine Air arsenal are the Lockheed Martin F-35B and F-35C Lightning II fighters (Joint Strike Fighters). The Marines will also begin operating the new Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion heavy lift helicopter in the near future. This story was first reported by CNN. Here’s a short video outlining the six functions of Marine Aviation uploaded by USA Patriotism. Semper Fi!