In the Air

I thought this was a very good documentary about an aging fleet of helicopters that belong to the Navy and Marine Corps.

It looks like several years after 911, with the Navy and Marine Corps involved in Iraq and Afghanistan and various budget priorities in play, that keeping the troops safe was overlooked.

Who Killed Lt. Van Dorn? (2018)

“An inquiry into the death of a Navy lieutenant who was in a crash of the controversial MH-53E helicopter model.”


September 2nd, 2020 We Are The Mighty

Who Killed Lt. Van Dorn? Here’s why you should know

“Written, directed, and narrated by Zachary Stauffer as his first feature documentary, this film offers a sobering look into chronic institutional failings that have resulted in 132 arguably preventable deaths.”

“Built by Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin subsidiary, the MH-53E Sea Dragon is the Navy’s nearly identical version of the Marine Corps’ CH-53-E Super Stallion. Since entering service in 1986, it has never succumbed to enemy fire but holds the worst safety record in the Navy’s fleet making it the deadliest aircraft in military history.”

The Navy, the Pentagon, Sikorsky and Lockheed Martin declined to participate in this well-researched film. Major funding to make this documentary possible was provided by supporters of the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism and Investigative Studios.”


On the Water

Oct 18th, 2020 Business Insider

Amphibious Assault Vehicles That Sink Are ‘Death Traps’ for the Troops Inside, Marine Veterans Say After Fatal Accident

“The Corps has been relying on AAVs since the 1970s. They require a lot of work to maintain and operate, and sometimes, things go wrong inexplicably.”

“You can do everything perfectly, and then, the moment you roll out, something goes wrong,” Torres said. “If everything is going smoothly, you should be worried.”

“If an AAV sinks rapidly, the egress “procedure is to brace yourself when the vehicle goes underwater and wait until the violent motion stops” before exiting the vehicle, explained Gunnery Sgt. Michael Pena, a curriculum chief at the Assault Amphibian School.”

“Basically, the Marines, who have access to neither seatbelts nor supplemental breathing devices, cling to their bench seats and hold their positions until the vehicle fills with water and steadies.”

Jacob Aronen, a Marine veteran familiar with AAVs, told Marine Corps Times that the top hatches, the primary egress points, “often have handles that are so stiff you need to beat them with a hammer to open.”

“Were a service member in full gear with an inflated life preserver to get stuck exiting the vehicle, he would block the way for those behind him. An injured Marine could have the same effect.”

Several interesting comments follow the article.


The Dept. of Defense has a truly poor track record for winning undeclared wars since DOD was established way back in 1949.


Growing Up In The Cold War Era



Leaving WordPress

Also maintaining our companion blog for now: Old Man Blog

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