The Coming of CMV-22B to the Fleet: Next Steps

In early February of this year, I attended the ceremony unveiling the Navy’s Osprey as the replacement for the C-2 for the logistics support mission.

The Osprey seen in the ceremony was the second Osprey delivered to the Navy, as the first one had been delivered to the Navy at Pax River the week before.

At that ceremony I met Capt. Dewon “Chainsaw” Chaney, the Commander of COMVRMWING (or Fleet Logistics Multi-Mission Wing). As was explained to me by a former C-2 commander, the elevation of the C-2 Command structure to be led by Wing Commander was a major step forward for the force.

As Capt (ret.) Sean McDermott put in an interview with me: “McDermott noted that one of the encouraging signs with the CMV-22B transition is that a new Wing, COMVRMWING has been stood up, and its Commodore who is in charge of the Osprey team now being charged to take over the COD mission. This CMV-22 wing should provide a more dedicated voice to implement new ideas for airborne logistics operations as well as exploring how the aircraft could be used to support other missions for the Navy in a distributed maritime environment.”


Marine Corps Finds 2018 Crash Investigation Had Flaws, Proposes New Safety Measures

A review of two previous Marine Corps aviation mishaps and their subsequent command investigations concludes that “organizational culture and command climate” contributed to both a 2016 and 2018 mishap within 1st Marine Aircraft Wing in Japan – and it adds that some conclusions made by the chain of command regarding the fatal 2018 crash were inaccurate or misleading.

In 2018, an F/A-18D Hornet aircraft from Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 242 and a KC-130J Super Hercules aircraft from Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152 collided off the coast of Japan during a nighttime refueling, killing all five Marines on the KC-130J and the pilot of the Hornet. The weapons system officer on the jet survived. In 2016, aircraft from these same two units were involved in another refueling mishap, though no one was injured.


Marine aviation support unit cases its colors amid push for a ‘lighter and faster’ Corps

A 3rd Marine Air Wing support unit – once based at the now-shuttered Marine Corps Air Station El Toro – was deactivated on Friday, July 17, at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.

The unit, the Marine Wing Support Group 37, was responsible for synchronizing the efforts of four squadrons and how they provided ground support.

Deactivating the unit frees up time and resources toward a redesign of the Marine Corps as ordered by Commandant Gen. David Berger, who emphasized in his 2019 plan the importance of the military branch becoming “lighter and faster” across the Pacific.


Marine CH-53K Emerges As The Fastest, Cheapest Way To Find A Future Army Heavy Lifter

The U.S. Marine Corps has an uncanny way of seeing the future of military aviation long before it arrives.

During the 1990s, when the Pentagon was canceling programs right and left due to the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Marines kept their MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor on track despite strident opposition from defense secretary Dick Cheney. Osprey later transformed the way Marines conducted operations, becoming one of the safest and most versatile aircraft in the joint fleet.


An open letter to the leaders of Marine aviation

The story of the midair collision ?between an F/A-18D and KC-130J on Dec. 6, 2018, as reported by the Marine Corps Times in September is now out for the entire world to see.

It is, sadly, a damning indictment of the leadership at every level of Marine aviation.

I cannot claim to speak for all who were the leaders of prior years, but I firmly believe this tragedy indicates that the current generation of aviation leaders have failed their Marines. And that, gentlemen, is neither the example nor the lesson those of us who were leaders in prior years passed on.

Before patting yourselves on the back for doing the right thing by relieving the commanding officer, XO, operations officer, and aviation safety officer of Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 242, you may want to consider whether that action really solved the problem. You know the answer to that one, a resounding no!


Aviation as the key to Navy-Marine Integration

The Corps has drifted away from the Navy over the last two decades, and it didn?t need the Navy in Iraq or Afghanistan. Shortages of amphibious shipping combined with a need to justify force structure gave birth to shore-based SPMAGTFs. This trend has led to less-than-seamless integration between the Marine Corps and Navy. In the future fight, this gap leaves amphibious forces more vulnerable and less deadly than they should be. 

The new Commandant of the Marine Corps, General David Berger, said in his planning guidance, ??there is a need to reestablish a more integrated approach to operations in the maritime domain.? By virtue of their range and speed, aviation assets are inherently able to bridge gaps. Amphibious forces usually take this as meaning between the sea and the land, but it also bridges gaps between forces at sea.


The Corps reopened an old aviation mishap investigation following deadly 2018 midair tanker collision

During the investigation of the deadly 2018 midair collision of a KC-130 and Hornet, the Corps discovered a strikingly similar mishap in 2016, which was improperly investigated.

The Corps decided to reopen the investigation into a midair collision between a KC-130 and F/A-18 that occurred on April 28, 2016, off the coast of Japan.

No one was killed in the 2016 incident, and both aircraft were able to land. But, a Hornet did impact and shear off the refueling hose and drogue of a KC-130J, damaging both aircraft during a night time low-light level refueling exercise.


Here’s why the Marine Corps is losing experienced pilots ? and what it can do to fix it

“Lat[eral] moves for [all aviators] to become a MARSOC [Special Operations Officer] are not being approved” at this time, the email from the Monitor said, adding that “[Inter-Service Transfers] for [any aviator] to any branch, to include the USCG, are not being approved [at this time].”

The email was just the latest restriction on aviators, and the next round of Headquarters Marine Corps’ (HQMC) ineffective strategy for dealing with a critical shortage of company grade aviators in the Marine Corps. The Air Force has garnered most of the attention regarding pilot shortages over the past few years, but it’s hardly unique to their service, as the entire military is struggling to keep its aviators in the midst of an airline hiring frenzy and a strong economy. For years, the pilot shortage was attributed to Obama-era sequestration, aging platforms, and a lack of sufficient flight time.

But there is a more significant contributor to this shortage: mismanagement of pilots due to unwritten rules of the aviation promotion system.


Marines Moving To Composite Hornet Squadrons Made Up Of F/A-18Ds And F/A-18Cs

Single-seat F/A-18C Hornets have started appearing in Marine all-weather strike fighter squadrons, designated VMFA(AW)s, which have traditionally been equipped with two-seat F/A-18Ds. It hasn’t been made clear exactly what is going on with what is truly an odd sight for military aviation aficionados to see?single-seat Hornets flying with the designations and motifs of famed two-seat VMFA(AW) squadrons.?The War Zone was just as curious as anyone about the peculiar arrangement, although we had a good idea of how and why it came to be. But still, the move, if permanent, is a major one for the USMC and its four VMFA(AW) squadrons, so we reached out to the Corps to get the bottom line on just how extensive and long-lasting the new squadron structure may be. The information we received from our inquiry describes a far more widespread metamorphosis that is happening across the entire Marine Corps’ Hornet enterprise.?