Pilot errors involving a misplaced hard shell case for night vision goggles are being blamed for the Oct. 2 crash of an Air Force C-130J air cargo plan during a takeoff from Jalalabad Airfield, Afghanistan. The crash killed 11 people onboard upon impact, according to a statement issued by the Air Mobility Command.
A report on the crash, released Friday, noted that the C-130J’s crew flew a successful mission from Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, to Jalalabad Airfield. While conducting engine running on-load/offload operations at Jalalabad Airfield, the pilot raised the elevators mounted to the horizontal stabilizer by pulling back on the yoke. This provided additional clearance to assist with offloading tall cargo. After a period of time in which the pilot held the yoke by hand, he placed a hard-shell night vision goggle (NVG) case in front of the yoke to hold the elevator in a raised position.
However, because the pilots were operating in darkened nighttime flying conditions and wearing NVGs, neither pilot recognized and removed the NVG case after loading operations were complete or during takeoff. Once airborne, the aircraft increased in an excessive upward pitch during the takeoff climb. The co-pilot misidentified the flight control problem as a trim malfunction, resulting in improper recovery techniques. The rapid increase in pitch angle resulted in a stall from which the pilots were unable to recover. The aircraft crashed about 28 seconds after liftoff, right of the runway, within the confines of Jalalabad Airfield.
The aircraft struck the ground, a perimeter wall and a guard tower, which resulted in all personnel onboard the aircraft being killed, along with three Afghan Special Reaction Force members assigned to the tower.
The crew consisted of the pilot, copilot, and two loadmasters assigned to the 39th Airlift Squadron, Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. Also on board were two fly-away security team members assigned to the 66th Security Forces Squadron, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass, and five civilian contractor passengers. Killed on the ground were three members of the Afghan Special Reaction Force.
The Pentagon misled Congress with inaccurate and vague information about sexual assault cases that portrayed civilian law enforcement officials as less willing than military commanders to punish sex offenders, an Associated Press investigation found.
Local district attorneys and police forces failed to act against U.S. service members who were subsequently prosecuted in military courts for sex crimes, according to internal government records that summarized the outcomes of dozens of cases. But in a number of cases, the steps taken by civilian authorities were described incorrectly or omitted. Other case descriptions were too imprecise to be verified.
There also is nothing in the records that supports the primary reason the Pentagon told Congress about the cases in the first place: To show top military brass as hard-nosed crime fighters who insisted on taking the cases to trial.
The records were obtained through the Freedom of Information Act by the advocacy group Protect Our Defenders, which provided the documents exclusively to AP. Protect Our Defenders is scheduled to release a report Monday that criticizes the Pentagon’s use of the cases to undermine support for Senate legislation that would mandate a major change in the way the military handles sexual assault allegations.
A U.S. Air Force reconnaissance plane was intercepted by a Russian SU-27 jet in an “unsafe and unprofessional” manner while in international airspace over the Baltic Sea, the Pentagon said, according to Military.com.
“The U.S. aircraft was operating in international airspace and at no time crossed into Russian territory,” Laura Seal, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said of Thursday’s incident.
It came shortly after Russian aircraft repeatedly buzzed the USS Donald Cook this past week, including an incident Tuesday in which a Russian Su-24 flew 30 feet (nine meters) above the war ship in a “simulated attack profile,” according to the U.S. military’s European Command.
Russia has denied the actions were reckless or provocative but they have been seen as exacerbating tensions between the rival powers.
“This unsafe and unprofessional air intercept has the potential to cause serious harm and injury to all aircrews involved,” Seal said of the latest incident in a statement.
The U.S. aircraft in question was an RC-135 and the Pentagon said it had been flying a routine route.
The head of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America is criticizing President Barack Obama for his unwillingness to oppose planned cuts to the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
Paul Rieckhoff, founder and chief executive officer of the organization, known as IAVA, on Thursday called on all lawmakers and the president to say where they stood on House legislation that will cut in half the housing allowance for students attending college on a parent’s GI Bill, according to Military.com.
The move could mean a loss of anywhere from a few hundred dollars to upwards of $2,000 a month, depending on where the child attends school.
“This is extremely disappointing to hear from our commander in chief,” Rieckhoff told Military.com on Friday. “You cannot be neutral on a moving train. We need him to stand strong. He stood with us when we passed the GI Bill in 2008. We need him to stand with us now in defending it.”