Marine aviation maintenance issues have now proven that the Obama administration has turned the “Hollow Forces” charges into a verifiable slogan. With issues reminiscent of the Post-Vietnam era, the military’s equipment is used up, falling apart, no spares, and no budget for repair or replacement. Congress is equally to blame, spending billions on ‘ear marks’ that have nothing do do with good fiscal management. The military has taken over 30% in dollars of all the budget cuts while accounting for only 10% of the overall budget. This issue is just the Tip of the Iceberg, and we’re on the Titanic.
As Written By Allen B. West:
It just seems to go from bad to worse daily when it comes to the Obama administration and our national security. The primary mission of the federal government is to “provide for the common defense.” That was the message I tried to convey to several Members of the House and Senate this week while on Capitol Hill. One would think this is a “bipartisan” issue; however, it appears not.
Consider this week, as we shared with you, the close quarters attack formation buzzing of an American Navy destroyer in international waters of the Baltic Sea while doing flight ops with Polish helicopters. Reports and video indicated the Russian Su-24 fighter jets were within 30 feet of our vessel. Of course, after the fact, SecState John Kerry issues a terse statement of strong condemnation saying, “we could have shot those planes down.” We look neutered, unlike Turkey, who did shoot down the Russian jets.
Once again, we have a very embarrassing moment for our Naval service, and trust me, those Sailors ain’t happy about having their warship buzzed, or being put on their knees at gun point by the Iranians.
But just when you thought it could not get any worse…
As reported by Fox News:
Since 1775, the U.S. Marine Corps has prided itself on being “The Few” and “The Proud.” But while the Corps takes pride in doing more with less, senior Marine officers are warning that the Corps’ aviation service is being stretched to the breaking point.
Today, the vast majority of Marine Corps aircraft can’t fly. The reasons behind the grounding of these aircraft include the toll of long wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the fight against ISIS and budget cuts precluding the purchase of the parts needed to fix an aging fleet, according to dozens of Marines interviewed by Fox News at two air stations in the Carolina’s this week.
Out of 276 F/A-18 Hornet strike fighters in the Marine Corps inventory, only about 30% are ready to fly, according to statistics provided by the Corps. Similarly, only 42 of 147 heavy-lift CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters are airworthy.
U.S. military spending has dropped from $691 billion in 2010 to $560 billion in 2015. The cuts came just as the planes were returning from 15 years of war, suffering from overuse and extreme wear and tear. Many highly trained mechanics in the aviation depots left for jobs in the private sector.
“Quite honestly, it is coming on the backs of our young Marines,” Lt. Col. Matthew “Pablo” Brown, commanding officer of VMFA(AW)-533, a Hornet squadron based at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina. “They can do it, and they are doing it but it is certainly not easy.”
Brown’s squadron is due to deploy to the Middle East in the coming days.
Lack of funds has forced the Marines to go outside the normal supply chain to procure desperately needed parts. Cannibalization, or taking parts from one multi-million dollar aircraft to get other multi-million dollar aircraft airborne, has become the norm.
When I was the Executive Officer (similar to being a Chief Operating Officer in civilian world) of a 425-man Air Assault artillery battalion at Ft. Bragg in 1998- …..