U.S. Navy, Marine Corps Hold Safety Stand Down Following Crashes

Credit: USN

Most U.S. Navy and Marine Corps aviation units were grounded for a safety pause on June 13 after a series of fatal incidents within about one week.

Vice Adm. Kenneth Whitesell, commander of Naval Air Forces, ordered the stand down to review the services’ risk-management practices and train on threat and error-management processes, the Navy says in a statement. Stateside units conducted the stand down on June 13, and deployed units must conduct a pause “at the earliest possible opportunity.”

The Navy and Marine Corps saw three crashes within one week in California. First, on June 3 a Boeing F/A-18E Super Hornet crashed during a training flight in the Mojave Desert. The accident killed Lt. Richard Bullock, who was assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 113 at Naval Air Station Lemoore, California.

On June 8, a Marine Corps MV-22B Osprey from Marine Aircraft Group 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing crashed during a training mission near Glamis, California. The crash killed pilots Capt. Nicholas Losapio and Capt. John Sax and crew chiefs Cpl. Nathan Carlson, Cpl. Seth Rasmuson and Lance Cpl. Evan Strickland. This crash came about three months after another USMC MV-22B crashed in poor weather during a training exercise in Norway, killing all four on board. 

On June 9, a Sikorsky MH-60S Seahawk crashed near Naval Air Field El Centro, California. All four crewmembers survived. 

“In order to maintain the readiness of our force, we must ensure the safety of our people remains one of our top priorities,” the Navy said in an announcement. 


Brian Everstine

Brian Everstine is the Pentagon Editor for Aviation Week, based in Washington, D.C. Before joining Aviation Week in August 2021, he covered the Pentagon for Air Force Magazine. Brian began covering defense aviation in 2011 as a reporter for Military Times.