US Navy grounds all training flights amid investigation into recent crashes

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The U.S. Navy announced all non-deployed aircraft will be grounded Monday to conduct a safety review. 

As a result of the crash, the Commander of Naval Air Forces directed all non-deployed Navy aviation units to conduct a “safety pause” on June 13 in order to review risk-management practice and training in dangerous situations, the Air Force announced. 

“In order to maintain the readiness of our force, we must ensure the safety of our people remains one of our top priorities,” the commander wrote in a press release

The review comes in the wake of three crashes that have killed six servicemen in recent weeks. 

On Friday, five Camp Pendleton-based servicemen killed when an aircraft crashed during a training flight in Imperial County were identified by the U.S. Marines Corps.

Cpl. Nathan E. Carlson, 21, of Winnebago, Illinois, a crew chief; Capt. Nicholas P. Losapio, 31, of Rockingham, New Hampshire, a pilot; Cpl. Seth D. Rasmuson, 21, of Johnson, Wyoming, a crew chief; Capt. John J. Sax, 33, of Placer, a pilot; and Lance Cpl. Evan A. Strickland, 19, of Valencia, New Mexico, a crew chief were all on board the MV-22B Osprey that went down shortly before 12:30 p.m. Wednesday in an “aviation mishap” while on a training mission near Glamis, east of Brawley, according to the Third Marine Aircraft Wing.

All three crashes happened in Southern California during routine training exercises. 

So far, investigations have found nothing connecting those crashes.

The Marines were participating in routine live-fire training over their gunnery range in the Imperial Valley desert, said Marine Maj. Mason Englehart, spokesperson for the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.

The Osprey, a hybrid airplane and helicopter, flew in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but has been criticized by some as unsafe. It is designed to take off like a helicopter, rotate its propellers to a horizontal position and cruise like an airplane.

Versions of the aircraft are flown by the Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force.

Prior to Wednesday’s crash, Osprey crashes had caused 46 deaths, the Los Angeles Times reported. On Thursday, just one day after the deadly accident, another U.S. Navy helicopter crashed at a training range in Imperial County.  All four people aboard the helicopter survived the crash, officials said.

Most recently, four Marines were killed when a Marine Corps Osprey crashed on March 18 near a Norwegian town in the Arctic Circle while participating in a NATO exercise. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.