Marine Corps

Marine Corps F-18 crashes in California, killing pilot

A Marine Corps F/A-18C warplane crashed in the California desert and the pilot was killed, the service said Friday. The jet went down around 10:30 p.m. Thursday during a training mission in the vicinity of Twentynine Palms, according to a statement from Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, the aircraft’s San Diego-area base. The sprawling Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center is located at Twentynine Palms, about 140 miles east of Los Angeles. The pilot from the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing was not identified. The cause of the crash was under investigation. The nature of the training mission was not specified. The F/A-18C is a twin-engine fighter-attack aircraft capable of multiple types of missions.

Very sad news..

Budget cuts leaving Marine Corps aircraft grounded

Since 1775, the U.S. Marine Corps has prided itself on being “The Few” and “The Proud.” But while the Corps takes pride in doing more with less, senior Marine officers are warning that the Corps’ aviation service is being stretched to the breaking point. Today, the vast majority of Marine Corps aircraft can’t fly. The reasons behind the grounding of these aircraft include the toll of long wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the fight against ISIS and budget cuts precluding the purchase of the parts needed to fix an aging fleet, according to dozens of Marines interviewed by Fox News at two air stations in the Carolinas this week. Out of 276 F/A-18 Hornet strike fighters in the Marine Corps inventory, only about 30% are ready to fly, according to statistics provided by the Corps. Similarly, only 42 of 147 heavy-lift CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters are airworthy. U.S. military spending has dropped from $691 billion in 2010 to $560 billion in 2015. The cuts came just as the planes were returning from 15 years of war, suffering from overuse and extreme wear and tear. Many highly trained mechanics in the aviation depots left for jobs in the private sector. “Quite honestly, it is coming on the backs of our young Marines,” Lt. Col. Matthew “Pablo” Brown, commanding officer of VMFA(AW)-533, a Hornet squadron based at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina. “They can do it, and they are doing it but it is certainly not easy.” Brown’s squadron is due to deploy to the Middle East in the coming days. Lack of funds has forced the Marines to go outside the normal supply chain to procure desperately needed parts. Cannibalization, or taking parts from one multi-million dollar aircraft to get other multi-million dollar aicraft airborne, has become the norm. To get one Hornet flying again, Marines at Beaufort stripped a landing gear door off a mothballed museum jet. The door, found on the flight deck of the World War II-era USS Yorktown, was last manufactured over a decade ago. “Imagine taking a 1995 Cadillac and trying to make it a Ferrari,” Sgt. Argentry Uebelhoer said days before embarking on his third deployment. “You’re trying to make it faster, more efficient, but it’s still an old airframe … [and] the aircraft is constantly breaking.” Maintaining the high-performance Hornets is a challenge with 30,000 fewer Marines, part of a downsizing that has been ongoing since 2010. “We don’t have enough of them to do the added work efficiently. We are making it a lot harder on the young marines who are fixing our aircraft,” said Maj. Michael Malone of Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 31. Sometimes it takes the Marines 18 months to get parts for early model F-18 jets whose production was halted in 2001. “We are an operational squadron. We are supposed to be flying jets, not building them,” said Lt. Col. Harry Thomas, Commanding Officer of VMFA-312, a Marine Corps F/A-18 squadron based at Beaufort. Lt. Col Thomas, call sign “Crash,” deployed to the Pacific with 10 jets last year. Only seven made it. A fuel leak caused his F/A-18 to catch fire in Guam. Instead of ejecting, he landed safely, saving taxpayers $29 million. Thomas has deployed eight times in all, including six to Iraq and Afghanistan. Right now only two of his 14 Hornets can fly. His Marines deploy in three months. “We are supposed to be doing the type of maintenance like you would take your car to Jiffy Lube for replacing fluids, doing minor inspections, changing tires, things of that nature, not building airplanes from the ground up,” he added. The aircraft shortage means pilots spend less time in the air. “This last 30 days our average flight time per pilot was just over 4 hours,” said Thomas. Ten years ago, Marine Corps pilots averaged between 25 and 30 hours in the air each month, according to one pilot. “This is the worst I’ve seen it,” he added. Another pilot who asked to remain nameless told Fox News that Chinese and Russian pilots fly more hours each month than Marine Corps pilots. Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornets are supposed to have a shelf life of 6,000 hours, but they are being refurbished to extend the life to 8,000. There is talk that some aircraft might be pushed to 10,000 hours while the Marine Corps waits for the 5th-generation Joint Strike Fighter, which is slated to replace the F-18, but has been plagued by cost overruns. “Our aviation readiness is really my No. 1 concern,” Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller told Congress last month. “We don’t have enough airplanes that we would call ‘ready basic aircraft.” Col. Sean Salene oversees nine helicopter squadrons at Marine Corps Air Station New River in North Carolina. “Unlike previous wars, we did not have a period of time afterwards where we did not have tasking,” said Col. Salene. “There was no time to catch our breath.” Maj. Matt Gruba, executive officer of HMH-461, a Super Stallion squadron at New River took Fox News reporters inside one of the large helicopters, which has sent thousands of fully loaded Marines into combat over the past three decades. Inside, hundreds of small wires cover every surface of the helicopter except the hard non-skid deck. It’s up to the Marine maintainers to inspect each one. One failure could be catastrophic, as happened in 2014 when a Navy MH-53E Sea Dragon crashed off the coast of Virginia after a fire engulfed the aircraft due to faulty fuel lines. “It would be easy to miss some small minute detail, some small amount of wear [which] could potentially, eventually cause a fire,” Gruba said. Lt. Gen. Jon M. “Dog” Davis is the Marine Corps’ deputy commandant for aviation, tasked with getting his aircraft back in the air. Davis ordered the Corps to refurbish all of the old CH-53E helicopters to their pre-war condition, including fixing the chafing wires and jerryrigged fuel lines that were repaired in theater. “The biggest thing is right now after 15 years of hard service, of hard fighting and deploying around the world, is we don’t have enough airplanes on the flight line,” Davis said.

This is beyond totally unacceptable!  But, it’s what happens when you have an extreme, liberal, anti-military, Democrat President in the White House who sees the U.S. military as the source of all evil in the world, and is hell-bent on tearing it apart.

The Marine Corps Against Political Correctness — Leaders Are Set to Challenge the Obama Administration

The Marine Corps is expected to ask that women not be allowed to compete for several front-line combat jobs, inflaming tensions between Navy and Marine leaders, U.S. officials say. The tentative decision has ignited a debate over whether Navy Secretary Ray Mabus can veto any Marine Corps proposal to prohibit women from serving in certain infantry and reconnaissance positions. And it puts Gen. Joseph Dunford, the Marine Corps commandant who takes over soon as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at odds with the other three military services, who are expected to open all of their combat jobs to women. Mabus has responded with sheer PC nonsense: “I’m not going to ask for an exemption for the Marines, and it’s not going to make them any less fighting effective,” he said, adding that the Navy SEALs also will not seek any waivers. “I think they will be a stronger force because a more diverse force is a stronger force. And it will not make them any less lethal.” A more diverse force is a stronger force? Is this guy a university dean or the leader of arguably — pound-for-pound — America’s most deadly fighting force? Rather than reciting Ivy League slogans, perhaps he should pay attention to the actual evidence: Women in a new Marine Corps unit created to assess how female service members perform in combat were injured twice as often as men, less accurate with infantry weapons and not as good at removing wounded troops from the battlefield, according to the results of a long-awaited study produced by the service. I know I’m only a JAG officer, but even I know that accuracy is directly relevant to lethality — as is the ability to stay in the fight without getting injured. And that’s not even taking into account the profoundly important issue of unit cohesion. The Marines are fighting a valiant rear-guard action, but they’re in a race with the PC clock. The left wants to transform the military as much as it can before it faces a new president, and social justice warriors firmly believes that social justice delayed is social justice denied.

Agreed,,  Attorney, and U.S, Army Reserve officer (Major), David French nails it yet again.  And, yeah..  He may be a JAG officer… But, he got a Bronze Star in Iraq…nuff said.

Marine Veteran discharged over Bible verse row may appear before military’s highest court

A Marine veteran who was discharged over ignoring an order to take down a Bible verse taped to her computer may have her case heard by the military’s highest court. Former Lance Cpl. Monifa Sterling received a bad-conduct discharge and was reduced in rank to an E-1 private after refusing an order from her supervisor while assigned to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, in 2013. “No weapon formed against me shall prosper,” she had taped to the side of her computer in triplicate, Military Times reported Wednesday. When a staff sergeant told her to take down the variation on Isaiah 57:14, she refused and was ultimately discharged. Her violation of a lawful order, along with other low-level offenses, led to the decision, the newspaper reported. The Bible verse “could be interpreted as combative … [and] could easily be seen as contrary to good order and discipline,” the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Appeals said in February. Private Sterling, a native of New York, lost her appeal but the case has been taken up by the nonprofit organization the Liberty Institute. “To me, this is analogous to: What if a Marine wants to get a tattoo of a cross on their shoulder or on their back. Is the Marine Corps going to tell them that is religious, and you can’t do it?” said Michael Berry, the Liberty Institute attorney overseeing the veteran’s appeal, Military Times reported. Private Sterling’s upcoming appeal will hinge on her legal team’s presentation of religious rights protected under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The 1993 law says that the government must provide a good reason to restrict religious activities, the newspaper reported. The Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces may hear the veteran’s case sometime later this year, the newspaper reported.

In recent months we’ve seen a LOT of cases in the military, where clearly those of faith (including Chaplains) have come under fire for practicing their faith. And, we’ve come to the defense of these servicemembers, and their Chaplains. However, in this case, it would appear that this junior enlisted Marine was simply insubordinate. And, she apparently has a history of poor conduct. So, my initial gut reaction is that she was in the wrong. If you have a problem with a directive, there IS a process through which to appeal a directive. In this case, she simply chose to ignore the directive altogether. And, you cannot have that in any military command. So, while we normally, passionately support those in our armed services (especially of Christian faith, who seem to be under the most fire) for the right to practice their faith without reprisal from an ever-increasing politically correct military brass…in this case, at least from what we’re hearing…this isn’t about religious freedom. It’s about military discipline.

No female Marines pass Infantry Officer Course by experiment’s end

The Marine Corps‘ historic experiment to allow women to take part in its Infantry Officer Course ended with zero female graduates. The last two female applicants hoping to make it through the course were cut during the Combat Endurance Test on April 2, along with nine of the 90 male Marines who applied for the program, Marine Corps Times reported Wednesday. Marine Corps spokeswoman Capt. Maureen Krebs told Military.com that female applicants were not expected to meet the same physical fitness screening standards as men, but they were required to match male performance in the course. The 13-week school historically averages a 25 percent attrition rate, Military.com reported Friday. Since the experiment began about two years ago, 29 women have volunteered for IOC at Quantico, Ms. Krebs said, Military.com reported. Data from the training experiment will be compiled and analyzed and Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Joseph Dunford will use the data to issue a recommendation to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter on how the Corps intends to open up some combat jobs to women in 2016. However, female Marines have had a higher success rate at the Infantry Training Battalion course at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, where 122 of the 358 women who entered the course graduated. Data from Camp Lejeune will be included in the report on the gender-integration experiment.

Sounds like this experiment was a bust..