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Lawmakers Demand Pentagon Reports on Fatal V-22 Crashes

By    |   Wednesday, 12 June 2024 03:16 PM EDT

Lawmakers investigating a series of military V-22 Osprey aircraft say their probe is being hindered by the Pentagon's refusal to release its safety investigation reports.

But Pentagon officials said at a House subcommittee Wednesday that they must be able to promise confidentiality to the people who are speaking to their safety boards.

"It is imperative that [the Defense Department] provide this information to understand the root causes of these deadly crashes and ensure U.S. servicemen and women who enter these aircraft are safe," said Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Wisc., who chairs the House Oversight Committee's national security subcommittee, reports NBC News.

The subcommittee started its inquiry after the deaths of four U.S. service members who were killed in four separate Osprey crashes in less than a two-year time period.

Wednesday morning, the subcommittee questioned three Pentagon officials, with family members of crash victims attending the hearing.

Vice Adm. Carl Chebi, the commander of Naval Air Systems Command, and Gary Kurtz, the program executive officer for the Air, Anti-submarine Warfare, Assault and Special Mission Programs at the Pentagon, said in statements submitted before the hearing that the leaderships of the Navy, Marines, and Air Force have given their "full attention and support" about the rate of the Osprey crashes, but "there is much work still to be done."

Chebi told committee members Wednesday, though, that the Pentagon has not eliminated risks with the Osprey's clutch that had led to a crash in June 2022. The military is working on redesigning the clutch, but it is not scheduled to be finished until 2025.

The committee insisted that the Defense Department must provide safety reports to keep its funding to finance the aircraft, but Chebi said the review of the Osprey program won't conclude for six to nine months from now.

Rep. Stephen F. Lynch, D-Mass., warmed that if another Osprey crashes, "this program is done."

"We have already had too much carnage," he said. "I don't believe this aircraft is safe so it's crazy to put more of our young men and women at risk."

Other members of the subcommittee suggested that the military could use other aircraft.

"We won't get there as fast but we will get there alive," Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., commented.

The families of five U.S. Marines who died in an Osprey crash in 2022 filed a federal wrongful death lawsuit in May against the aircraft's manufacturers on claims that they did not address mechanical failures on the aircraft.

The crash killed Capt. John Sax, 33, of Placer, California; Capt. Nicholas Losapio, 31, of Rockingham, New Hampshire; Cpl. Nathan Carlson, 21, of Winnebago, Illinois; Cpl. Seth Rasmuson, 21, of Buffalo, Wyoming; and Lance Cpl. Evan Strickland, 19, of Valencia, New Mexico. They died in the crash on June 8, 2022 while on a routine training flight in the California desert near the Arizona border.

Strickland's parents, Brett and Michelle Strickland, attended Wednesday's hearing. In prepared testimony, they wrote that the circumstances surrounding the death of their son and four others in the 2022 crash "are deeply alarming and upsetting because the root cause of the mechanical failure still remains unresolved!!! ... Please honor these men by ensuring their legacy includes meaningful change and accountability."

Sandy Fitzgerald

Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics. 

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


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Lawmakers investigating a series of military V-22 Osprey aircraft say their probe is being hindered by the Pentagon's refusal to release its safety investigation reports.
pentagon, lawmakers, osprey, military
536
2024-16-12
Wednesday, 12 June 2024 03:16 PM
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