III MEF Clears Osprey for Resumed Operations
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP BUTLER, Okinawa, Japan — Lt. Gen. Lawrence Nicholson, commanding general, III Marine Expeditionary Force (III MEF), has issued a statement regarding the Aug. 5 MV-22 Osprey crash that killed three Marines during training off eastern Australia and the status of flight operations of the tiltrotor aircraft.
“Following the MV-22 mishap off the coast of Australia, the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit [MEU] took the following actions to ensure the safety of future flight operations:
■ Launched a full investigation into the mishap to determine the cause
■ Instituted a 48-hour operational pause to review unit safety procedures
■ Collected firsthand accounts of those involved, reviewed aircraft maintenance logs and crew training records, and closely analyzed all factors contributing to the mishap with our senior aviation leadership
■ The squadron commanding officer met with squadron members to re-emphasize the importance of adhering to flight standards and safety procedures.
“After taking these actions and making an initial examination of the facts and circumstances leading up to the mishap, the MEU determined that the Osprey is safe to fly and resumed operations. I concurred with the MEU commander — I would never put my aircrews or any local citizens in danger by flying an aircraft that I do not believe is safe and ready to fly. We did not take the decision to continue flight operations lightly.
“Salvage and recovery operations are now under way, with the assistance of the crew of the HMAS Melville of the Australian Defence Force. We mourn the loss of our Marines and grieve with their families. Please continue to keep all our Marines in your thoughts and prayers.
“Our Marines and Sailors must and will continue to focus on the mission of ensuring peace and security throughout the region. Our aircraft are reliable and exceptionally valuable assets in this endeavor. The MV-22 Osprey in particular has proven itself capable of reaching remote areas and supporting critical missions like providing assistance to victims of the 2016 earthquake in Kumamoto, the 2015 earthquake in Nepal and Super Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in 2013.
“We live in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region and care very deeply for our international friends and partners. We value our aircrews and the Marines and Sailors who fly in our aircraft, as well as the citizens we fly over in the United States, Japan, Australia, and throughout the world. III MEF will continue to train to ensure readiness while minimizing impact to our communities so we can operate safely when and where we are needed.”