Home » Aviation » 1st MAW Marines Resume MV-22 Operations After Crash


1st MAW Marines Resume MV-22 Operations After Crash

800px-thumbnail

The 1st Marine Air Wing’s MV-22s are flying again after a safety stand down following an emergency ditch at sea last week, III Marine Expeditionary Force said in a Monday statement.

On Dec. 13, an MV-22 assigned to Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing clipped the refueling line separating from aerial tanker at night near Okinawa. The subsequent damage resulted in the decision to ditch the aircraft in shallow water about five to six miles offshore.

Following the crash, III MEF called a halt to Osprey operations to review safety procedures, which concluded on Monday with notification to Japanese authorities.

“We have conducted a thorough, careful and exhaustive review of MV-22 aviation safety procedures and briefed Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials,” said U.S. Forces, Japan Commander Lt. Gen Jerry P. Martinez in the statement. “While the investigation is ongoing, we are highly confident in our assessment that the cause of the mishap was due solely to the aircraft’s rotor blades coming into contact with the refueling line.”

MV-22 operations around Okinawa are a sore spot for U.S. military relationships with Japan and some locals are wary of the Ospreys for safety concerns.

“It is very important for Japanese citizens to understand and share our utmost confidence in the safety and reliability of the MV-22, or we would not continue flight operations,” III MEF commander Lt. Gen Lawrence D. Nicholson said in the statement.
“It is equally important that we ensure our pilots have every opportunity to conduct training, which allows us to remain proficient, and enable us to respond when most needed in support of the alliance.”
An investigation into the details of the crash is ongoing.

The following is the complete III MEF Dec. 19, 2016 statement.

MV-22 Ospreys in Japan continue flight operations

‎MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP BUTLER, Okinawa, Japan – MV-22 Ospreys with 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force will continue flight operations today.

“We have conducted a thorough, careful and exhaustive review of MV-22 aviation safety procedures and briefed Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials,” said U.S. Forces, Japan Commander Lt. Gen Jerry P. Martinez. “While the investigation is ongoing, we are highly confident in our assessment that the cause of the mishap was due solely to the aircraft’s rotor blades coming into contact with the refueling line. We greatly appreciate the strong support from our Alliance partner in the aftermath of this incident.”

U.S. Forces, Japan began notification of continued flight operations to the Government of Japan on Friday and concluded with a final briefing this morning. Lt. Gen Lawrence D. Nicholson, the Commanding General of III Marine Expeditionary Force, made notifications to the Okinawa Prefectural Government and Okinawa Defense Bureau.

After a thorough and careful review of our safety procedures, checklists, and aircraft, I am highly confident that we can continue safe flight operations of the MV-22 in support of our Alliance partner and obligations,” said Nicholson. “It is very important for Japanese citizens to understand and share our utmost confidence in the safety and reliability of the MV-22, or we would not continue flight operations. It is equally important that we ensure our pilots have every opportunity to conduct training, which allows us to remain proficient, and enable us to respond when most needed in support of the Alliance.”

Media may contact the III Marine Expeditionary Force public affairs office at the provided contact information.

Like What You've Been Reading? Get Proceedings Today
Categories: Aviation, Budget Industry, News & Analysis, U.S. Marine Corps
Sam LaGrone

About Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He was formerly the U.S. Maritime Correspondent for the Washington D.C. bureau of Jane’s Defence Weekly and Jane’s Navy International. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.