The number of U.S. troops killed in plane crashes has jumped in the course of a single year, according to an analysis by Fox News.
This analysis revealed that there have been 22 U.S. military plane crashes in non-combat settings, which is an increase of 38 percent from November 2016. The number of troops dead has increased by 130 percent.
That figure does not even include the recent Navy C-2A Greyhound crash, which occurred Wednesday in the Pacific Ocean as the aircraft was attempting to bring supplies to the USS Ronald Reagan from Japan. While eight sailors on the plane survived, search and rescue operations for three of the men still missing ended earlier this week. Navy officials told Fox News that they’re focusing on an engine failure in the investigation.
Just two days prior to the Greyhound incident, an Air Force T-38 training aircraft crashed Monday, killing Air Force Capt. Paul J. Barbour. The other pilot managed to eject safely. The Air Force suspects a mechanical failure was at work.
An Army Black Hawk helicopter crashed near Hawaii in August, leading to the deaths of five soldiers.
The Marine Corps, too, has also been hit by tragedy.
A KC-130 transport plane that crashed back in July in Mississippi killed 15 Marines and one sailor, while en route to California from North Carolina.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis has been reticent to directly place the blame for military accidents on budget constraints, but pledged in September to investigate those constraints as a possible factor.
However, during a Nov. 14 hearing on Pentagon nominees, GOP Sen. John McCain, chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, went so far as to say that Congress is “complicit” in the military readiness crisis.
“The military readiness crisis has impacted every service from ship collisions, aircraft crashes and vehicle accidents to personnel shortages in critical roles, like aviation and cybersecurity,” McCain said. “And by the way, the Congress is also complicit in this almost criminal behavior.”
Owing to limited aircraft maintenance, about 70 percent of old F-18 Hornets in the Marine Corps cannot fly. Just 31 percent of Navy F-18 Super Hornets are capable of fighting at a moment’s notice.
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