Navy grounds aircraft after crashes in California

The Navy grounded its Air Forces Monday for a “safety pause” in the wake of multiple military aircraft crashes this month in California, two of which were fatal.

The first crash was reported June 3 near Trona in San Bernardino County and involved a F/A-18E Super Hornet. The pilot, Lt. Richard Bullock, was killed.

On June 8, an MV-22B Osprey from the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing crashed in Imperial County near the Arizona border, killing all five Marines on board.

The Marines were identified as Cpl. Nathan E. Carlson, 21, of Winnebago, Ill.; Capt. Nicholas P. Losapio, 31, of New Durham, N.H.; Cpl. Seth D. Rasmuson, 21, of Johnson, Wyo.; Capt. John J. Sax, 33, of Placer, Calif.; and Lance Cpl. Evan A. Strickland, 19, of Valencia, N.M.

The next day, a Navy helicopter also crashed in Imperial County, injuring one person.

The pause affected all 171 of the Navy’s aviation units with currently deployed units allowed to institute the one-day pause when protocols and operations allow.

The pause was instituted to “reemphasize” and “review” safety and risk mitigation protocols for flight crews, said Cmdr. Zach Harrell, a Naval Air Forces public affairs officer.

The pauses are instituted “whenever there is an unusual pattern [of incidents],” Harrell said.

The previous Navy stand-down occurred in October 2020, in the wake of two crashes, one of which was fatal.