All Marine Corps aviation units must pause operations for two days this week, the acting commandant said Monday, the day after an F-35B Lightning II disappeared in South Carolina and just weeks after two deadly plane crashes.
Gen. Eric Smith directed units to hold the safety stand down to “discuss aviation safety matters and best practices,” according to a press release Monday.
“During the safety stand down, aviation commanders will lead discussions with their Marines focusing on the fundamentals of safe flight operations, ground safety, maintenance and flight procedures, and maintaining combat readiness,” the press release said. “This stand down [is] being taken to ensure the service is maintaining operational standardization of combat-ready aircraft with well-prepared pilots and crews. This pause invests time and energy in reinforcing the Marine aviation community’s established policies, practices and procedures in the interests of public safety, protecting our Marines and sailors, and ensuring the Marine Corps remains a ready and highly-trained fighting force.”
The Marine Corps just wrapped up a service-wide “safety review” following deadly crashes in California and Australia. Units were asked to have group discussions and to “provide honest feedback on perceived hazards.” That feedback is due to the Marine Corps Safety Division by Oct. 15.
A Marine Corps F-35B went missing Sunday near Charleston, S.C., after the pilot ejected safely in a North Charleston neighborhood, officials said. Authorities found a debris field Monday evening two hours’ drive northeast of Joint Base Charleston, the base said in a social media post.
Earlier this month, Smith said the service plans to have a general officer lead its Safety Division by next summer in an attempt to provide more supervision and adherence to safety.
Jennifer Hlad contributed to this report.
The post Marines pause aviation operations after crashes, missing jet appeared first on Defense One.