[Editorial] U.S. military’s shameful cover up of Osprey crash in Nevada

August 31, 2013 Ryukyu Shimpo

How long will the U.S. military continue to hide information? The latest example is the accident in which an MV-22 Osprey failed when landing in Nevada. The U.S. military provided few answers to questions from the Ryukyu Shimpo. They went no further than saying that “a U.S. Marine Corps Osprey aircraft made a hard landing during a training mission,” and that it “caught fire after the four crew members escaped injury.” They did not provide a photograph of the accident scene.

However, a spokesperson at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar commented to a local newspaper that it was damaged so much that it could no longer fly. According to aviation summaries posted on the Internet, the Naval Safety Center has determined that the accident in Nevada was a “Class A Mishap,” and the aircraft was “destroyed.” A Class A mishap involves a total cost of damage to property and aircraft of $2 million or more. Most cases in which Osprey aircraft have crashed in the past have been Class A. Judging from information from the United States, it is clear that the aircraft landed with a violent shock, was wrecked and then caught fire. This is therefore a Class A mishap causing a loss of $2 million or more.

The same as with this latest case, the U.S. military described the accident in South Korea in April in which the CH-53 helicopter that operates out of Futenma base failed to land and caught fire as a “hard landing.” Photographs of the accident site in Korea show that the helicopter was reduced to a charred wreck. What would you call this? Surely it is nothing less than a crash.

The Osprey accident that occurred in North Carolina in June was also rated as Class A. A total of $ 63 million of damage was caused, which is more than the cost of the aircraft. Marines officials commented that part of the aircraft was burnt, but we think that they were trying to hide the true seriousness of the accident.

Lt. Gen. Kenneth Glueck, Commanding General of III Marine Expeditionary Force and Okinawa Area Coordinator, said in an interview in August last year, “It’s one of the safest aircraft we have in our inventory today,” on the basis that the Osprey has had few Class A mishaps. But two Class A mishaps have happened this year, so would they still describe it as safe?

That the Osprey is a dangerous aircraft is self-evident. It cannot be allowed to fly over Okinawa any longer. The governments of Japan and the United States should withdraw all the Osprey aircraft immediately and cancel the deployment to Futenma Air Station.

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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