A Friday crash of an MV-22B Osprey near Bodo, Norway, which claimed the lives of four Marines, sheds new light on an aircraft that had a notoriously troubled development.
Late Sunday, the Marine Corps released the names of the four service members: Capt. Matthew Tomkiewicz of Fort Wayne, Indiana; Captain Ross Reynolds of Leominster, Massachusetts; Artillery Sergeant. James Speedy of Cambridge, Ohio; and cap. Jacob Moore of Catlettsburg, Kentucky.
All four were assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 261, according to a statement issued by the II Marine Expeditionary Force late Sunday.
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The Marine Corps said the cause of the crash was under investigation, but Norwegian police reported bad weather in the area, according to The Associated Press.
The Osprey has had a controversial development and operational history, with some claiming it is unsafe. Between 1991 and 2006, while the aircraft was undergoing testing, there were four accidents causing 30 deaths.
Since its commissioning in 2007, there have been further accidents, although the number of fatalities has dropped considerably. The defense contractor supported The Lexington Institute described the aircraft as “the safest and toughest rotorcraft the United States Marine Corps operates” in 2011, shortly after the Osprey had its first fatal crash in a decade.
The last major accident involving a V-22 Osprey was in 2017 when Pentagon officials said “two military personnel were injured after a coalition aircraft executed a hard landing” at an undisclosed location in Syria. . The last fatal accident involving the aircraft also took place in 2017 off the coast of Australia, in which three Marines were lost.
In a press release, Maj. Gen. Michael Cederholm, the commander of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, praised the service of the four Marines who perished on March 18.
“The pilots and crew were determined to accomplish their mission and serve a cause greater than themselves,” he said. “We will never allow the sacrifice of these Marines to go unnoticed or unappreciated.”
The statement noted that the Marine Corps were removed from the site and “are being returned.” The service said a dignified transfer will take place ‘in the next few days’.
News of the accident was first announced by Norwegian authorities on Saturday, although the Corps says the accident happened on Friday. Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said in a tweet that the “deepest condolences of the country go to the families of the soldiers, to the relatives and to the comrades of their unit”.
The Marines were participating in NATO Exercise Cold Response 2022.
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