Home » Aviation » Marine Corps KC-130J Loses Pressure in Flight; 5 Treated for Decompression Sickness


Marine Corps KC-130J Loses Pressure in Flight; 5 Treated for Decompression Sickness

A KC-130J with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352 descends before landing during a Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force – Crisis Response – Central Command aerial refueling exercise, Oct. 13, 2016. US Marine Corps photo.

A Marine Corps KC-130J on a training mission experienced a loss of pressure at 21,000 feet on Aug. 15, leading to five personnel developing decompression sickness symptoms.

The aircraft comes from Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron (VMGR-352) in the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing. On Tuesday the plane departed Marine Corps Air Station Miramar with 46 passengers onboard for a routine training mission, according to a Marine Corps news release. When the loss of pressure occurred, the air crew safely returned the plane to MCAS Miramar.

Four Marines and one sailor from 3rd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion at Camp Pendleton, Calif., displayed symptoms the next day and were brought to Naval Medical Center San Diego, where they were treated and released.

The Marine Corps is investigating the incident.

The KC-130 family of aircraft has among the best safety records of all Marine Corps aircraft in service today. However, a legacy KC-130T crashed on July 10, killing all 16 personnel aboard. The Marine Corps has not yet discussed the cause of that crash.

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Categories: Aviation, News & Analysis, U.S. Marine Corps
Megan Eckstein

About Megan Eckstein

Megan Eckstein is a staff writer for USNI News. She previously covered Congress for Defense Daily and the U.S. surface navy and U.S. amphibious operations as an associate editor for Inside the Navy.

  • MarineCorpsVet

    And thus we see the start of the result of our previous president’s weaning of the Armed Services of money that would have gone for maintenance, upkeep and safety inspections. There will be crashes due to the lack of money for fuel for training flights. We’ve seen it all before. After Carter, after Clinton, after ….

    • Ken Long

      You can blame the president all you want, but it is congress that actually appropriates the funds. Money for spares, maintenance and similar expenses, isn’t sexy. They would rather spend DOD budget on new equipment, which benefits the large contractors who are campaign contributors, plus they can brag about the jobs that they have brought to their state.

      • Michael D. Woods

        You’re both right. The people need to either pay for what they want or want less. With Congress and administrations full of free riders who never served (and under Democrats, sometimes openly hostile), this is what we get.

    • Horn

      The President signed the bill that a Republican House and Democrat Senate passed. Then sequestration was extended in return for additional funding by the same Congress two years later. The President didn’t like either of the bills, but signed them in order to address pending debt limit debates. Rarely in our history, has one entire person or party been to blame for our country’s mistakes.

  • Michael D. Woods

    I wonder whether they lost pressurization or had one of the outflow valves program open and stick. I flew F and R models from 1973-1985 and never had a pressurization loss. From FL210 they should have ten to thirty minutes of useful conscious time, which is plenty of time to get down in the fat air even without supplemental oxygen. I can imagine the passengers having trouble, though. When I went to Quito, Ecuador, in my sixties, at 10,000 ASL some of us never noticed the altitude but others took a couple of days to adapt. And there could be other problems if some had ear or sinus blocks.

  • Curtis Conway

    From Lear Jets to C-130s, what is going on with pressurization. Maintenance?

  • Edward J. Palumbo

    A C130 from VMGR-352 was my “skyhook”, flying others and I from Chu Lai to Da Nang in February 1967. A chartered Continental Airlines a/c took me from Da Nang to Okinawa, but VMGR-352 and the C130 will always be a matter of interest and I remain grateful for the lift. The C130 is a very rugged and adaptable bird. I hope whatever problems have manifested themselves can be resolved for the safety of the Marines and Navy personnel who rely on this aircraft.