Members of a US Marine Corps unit that suffered a fatal crash in which two military planes collided near Japan last year with inappropriate activities during flights such as reading books and taking selfies, revealed a new report.
Two Marine Corps warplanes – a KC-130 Hercules air tanker and an F / A-18 Hornet fighter jet – collided about 200 miles off the coast of Japan's Shikoku Island on December 6, 2018, leading to the death of six Marines .
A preliminary investigation into the crash revealed that none of the aircraft had undergone a disruption prior to the collision and instead blamed the & # 39; climate of unprofessionalism & # 39; of the officers on board.
According to the report, several members of the MarineCorps unit at Air Station Iwakuni in western Japan had removed their oxygen masks and taken both hands off the aircraft controls to read books, take photos or take care of their beads during flights in generally, according to the Japan Times.
New report revealed a & # 39; climate of unprofessionalism & # 39; in a US naval unit in Japan, which led to a fatal crash in the air of two warplanes in December 2018. This photo shows the location of the crash at the Kocki prefecture in Japan and the rescue on December 6, 2018
The report revealed that marines in that unit removed their oxygen masks and took the controls from the aircraft to take selfies, read books and look after their beards. This image from the US military report shows a pilot, with a hidden face, reading a book with both hands off the controls and his mask
At the time of the December 2018 crash, tank crew members were based at Iwakuni Air Station near Hiroshima
During the devastating crash, all five Marines died on the KC-130J fighter plane including Lt. Col. Kevin Herrmann, 38, from New Bern, North Carolina; Maj. James Brophy, 36, of Staatsburg, New York; Staff Sgt. Maximo Flores, 27, from Surprise, Arizona; Cpl. Daniel Baker, 21, from Tremont, Illinois; and Cpl. William Ross, 21, from Hendersonville, Tennessee.
The Hornet pilot, Capt. Jahmar Resilard, 28, from Miramar, Florida also died.
In one case, a commander of an officer appeared to have shared a selfie on his WhatsApp profile during a flight. In that photo he is in flight with his oxygen mask off and his visor up.
Another officer shared a selfie while reading a book with both hands of the flight control and his mask off. A third officer shared a selfie where he was pictured with his mask off and grooming his mustache with a comb. Both photos were taken during the flight, according to the report.
Urine samples from members of the Corps unit, including one involved in the accident in 2018, tested positive for traces of a hypnotic tranquilizer that prevented them from flying.
Victims of the fatal crash of December 2018 (top left to bottom right): Lt. Col. Kevin R. Herrmann, 38; Maj. James M. Brophy, 36; Staff Sgt. Maximo A. Flores, 27; Cpl. William Ross, 21; Cpl. Daniel E. Baker, 21; and Hornet pilot Capt. Jahmar Resilard, 28
Moreover, this was not the first time that this unit was involved in a plane crash.
The same unit was involved in a midair crash of the Kadena Air Base in Okinawa Prefecture on April 26, 2016. In that crash, an F / A-18 jet hit an air tanker and made contact with the fuel hose.
The Marine Corps categorized that accident in 2016 as a class C, the second least serious classification of accidents in the four-level rating system of the Marine Corps. That classification meant that the accident did not justify investigation and that it did not have to be made public.
This week's report said an investigation into the 2016 accident could also have helped prevent the 2018 crash.
After the 2018 crash, four officers were fired, including the commanding officer who shared a selfie during the flight.
The Department of Defense is now calling on the US armed forces to provide information about the accident in 2016 to ensure safety in future operations.
The new report confirmed the findings of a preliminary investigation into the accident in 2018.
& # 39; A series of contributing factors were identified, including but not limited to: insufficient monitoring of training and operations, an unprofessional command climate and the pilot of the lack of capability of the F / A-18 accident with the mission of night air to refueling & # 39 ;, according to a summary of the study released in September 2019 USNI News.
After the crash of 2018, four officers with the Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni were fired, including the commanding officer who shared that selfie during the flight. The Marine Corps said that after the crash, new leadership led to a & # 39; back to basics & # 39; instruction period to once again emphasize professionalism and safety.
& # 39; The findings of the study confirm our need to continually evaluate risks, identify unsafe conditions, and ensure that internal controls are followed. Investigating ourselves when accidents and other events occur is vital to help us identify problems that create unsafe conditions, "the Marine Corps said in a statement against DailyMail.com.
The Marine Corps said that after the crash, new leadership led to a & # 39; back to basics & # 39; instruction period to once again emphasize professionalism and safety.
& # 39; The investigation determined the order of events that led to the fatal aviation accident due to individual decisions and procedural errors at squadron level & # 39 ;, the statement added.
The findings of the report of misconduct caused indignation among residents of Iwakuni in the Yamaguchi prefecture. Some residents even went so far as to call for the suspension of American military flights.
& # 39; They are extremely dangerous behaviors. They can cause an accident and (they) have to suspend flights immediately, & Jungen Tamura, 74, a former member of the Iwakuni Municipal Assembly who oversees activities at the Iwakuni base, told the Japan Times.
& # 39; It's shocking … I'm shocked. The state and the city must thoroughly study how to be re-educated, & said Makoto Ebuchi, 62, an advisor to a group of citizens who opposed the expansion of the Iwakuni base.
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