The US Marines are the elite arm of the US defense forces and have been visible in action all over the world. This elite force has its aviation component and manned by its pilots. The last month has been a nightmare for the Marine Corps, as 19 marines have been killed in two deadly crashes almost 5000 miles apart.

These accidents have led to General Robert B Neller, Commandant of US Marine Corps instructing all marine aviation units to carry out a "re-rest" for 24 hours of each Aircraft in the next 15 days. No operations will take place during the day, but the reset will be done in a phased manner so that operational tasks are not hampered.

This news is reported by CNN International.

Accidents

The first accident took place in Mississippi when a KC- 130 transport plane exploded in midair, and 16 marines were killed and the second accident happened when an Osprey helicopter participating in an exercise off the Queensland coast hit the water after striking a ship and sank killing three marines. As the accident took place in full view of the other warships the rescue and recovery operations were launched, and 23 sailors were saved from a watery grave.

This was not all, as another Osprey while coming in to land at the American base in Okinawa broke up into pieces, luckily no one was killed, and only the crew was injured. This accident prompted the Japanese government to ask the US Navy to suspend all flights of the Osprey till its safety was evaluated.

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A reset for all aircraft

The operational reset will affect nearly 1000 aircraft that are on the inventory of Marine Corps and also includes the Hornet F-18 fighter. A similar reset was ordered last August when three Hornets crashed. The order is binding on all commanders, who however have the levity to decide on which day they will carry out the reset, keeping in mind that the operational efficiency is not hampered and no task remains unfulfilled. The order to reset was the need of the hour as along with 22 deaths there has been 18 “class An “incidents that have cost the Marine Corps nearly $ two million.

Budgetary constraints

The marine general did not say what the problem was, but one reason could be the budgetary constraints that have led to a cap on training and maintenance exercises. Also, many of the planes being flown like the F-18 Hornet are older versions and thus suspect. The spate of deaths during peace time would have alarmed the higher echelons of the military leadership and has necessitated this step.

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