Navy announces rare ‘safety pause’ after string of accidents, two fatal incidents in one week

(Video: ABC)

With concerns mounting over the safety of military service members following a slew of recent aircraft crashes, including two fatal incidents within one week’s time, the U.S. Navy declared that Monday will be used for a rare “safety pause.”

On Saturday, the Commander of Naval Air Forces released a directive for all non-deployed aviation units within the Navy to ground their aircraft on June 13 to reestablish the norms of safety. The decision followed the deaths of six service members in two separate crashes.

“As a result of recent crashes involving U.S. Navy and Marine Corps aircraft,” the brief release on the directive stated, “Commander, Naval Air Forces has directed all non-deployed Navy aviation units to conduct a safety pause on June 13 in order to review risk-management practices and conduct training on threat and error-management processes.”

The statement went on to note, “In order to maintain the readiness of our force, we must ensure the safety of our people remains one of our top priorities.”

ABC’s chief national correspondent Matt Gutman told “Good Morning America” that utilization of the rare occurrence is discretionary. “We’re told it’ll be up to each individual commander about how to use the day, as long as it’s about getting back to the basics and on risk- and error-management practices.”

Five Marines had been left dead Wednesday after their MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft crashed east of San Diego. Based out of Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton, California, those lost in the tragedy included crew chiefs Cpl. Nathan E. Carlson, 21, Cpl. Seth D. Rasmuson, 21 and Evan A. Strickland, 19 along with pilots Capt. Nicholas P. Losapio, 31, and Capt. John J. Sax, 33 who was the son of former Major League Pitcher Steve Sax.

In addition to that fatal accident, U.S. Navy pilot Lt. Richard Bullock crashed his F/A-18E Super Hornet on June 3 as reported by the New York Post.

“While military service is inherently dangerous,” a spokesman for the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing Lt. Duane Kampa stated, according to The Washington Post, “3rd Marine Aircraft Wing is committed to providing support to the families, friends, and fellow service members of the fallen Marines.”

Since 1991, The Washington Post tallied more than 40 deaths related to Osprey accidents.

The three crashes that Gutman cited, including a Navy Seahawk helicopter crash that had no fatalities, “are still under investigation, but there have been additional fatal crashes in recent months, and this is starting to draw the attention of Capitol Hill where there’s increasing concern about military aviation safety.”

As for active-duty aviation units, the directive from Commander, Naval Air Forces instructed those units to undergo their pauses when the opportunity first presented itself, “Deployed units will conduct the safety pause at the earliest possible opportunity.”


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