December 17, 2002
Their average age was 30. They came from 24 states and the District of Columbia. Thirty-three were married and three were engaged. They left behind 38 children and five on the way. They are the 45 Marines who have died in Harrier accidents during the jump jet's 31 years of U.S. service. Two more Marines were killed when their Harriers were shot down during the Persian Gulf War. With the exception of Lt. Stephen J. Chetneky, a flight surgeon, all were pilots.
December 17, 2002 |
Through the viewfinder of his mother's video camera, Jeffrey Smith looked the picture of Marine Corps confidence in the moments before takeoff on June 29, 1992. Fit and trim in his olive flight suit and aviator shades, the 29-year-old pilot flashed a Tom Cruise smile as he made his final preflight checks. He walked around the wings of his AV-8B Harrier, inspected the flaps and climbed nearly all the way into the huge conical intakes, surveying the fan blades for any hint of damage.
December 16, 2002 |
Odd as it may seem, the first thought that crossed Lt. Col. John W. Capito's mind as he felt the initial lash of freezing rain at 15,000 feet was of the 8-year-old boy at the airfield. "Have you ever had to eject?" the youngster had asked as Capito prepared to jet off in his AV-8B Harrier. "No, kid," the 39-year-old Marine told him. "That never really happens." Capito knew better. Harrier pilots must always be prepared for an unscheduled ride up the rails.
December 16, 2002 |
The pigeons in the hangar had worn out their welcome. So late one night, three Marine maintenance workers launched an artillery assault on the squatters in the rafters. Armed with slingshots and ball bearings, they fired round after round, unfazed by the $28-million Harrier attack jet parked nearby. They bagged one bird before being told to knock it off. The Marines then searched the hangar, inspected the plane and thought they had found all the bearings.
December 15, 2002 |
Though many had died flying the Harrier, Marine Corps pilot Peter E. Yount never thought it would let him down. He knew the attack jet well and was devoted to it. In the entire U.S. arsenal, only the compact, muscular-looking Harrier could lift straight up off a runway, hover like a hummingbird, then blast off in search of targets. "Difficult but honest" is how Yount described it. But on a clear spring day in 1998, the Harrier would betray him.
June 18, 1999 |
The Marine Corps has grounded about half of its AV-8B Harrier jump jets while it investigates two crashes in the last two weeks. In all, 84 planes were grounded. The planes have the same Rolls-Royce engine model as the aircraft involved in the crashes.
March 21, 1991 |
A U.S. Marine Corps Harrier jump jet crashed into the Red Sea during a night training mission, the U.S. Central Command said Wednesday. The pilot of the AV-8B jet ejected safely and was recovered unhurt by a small boat from the tank-landing ship Manitowoc. The Harrier was flying from the amphibious assault ship Nassau. The command withheld the pilot's name and other details of the crash.
January 31, 1991
Both the United States and Britain have versions of the so-called jump jet, popularized during the Falklands War. The unusual fighter, produced for the U.S. Marine Corps., is capable of vertical takeoffs and landings, delivering thousands of pounds of vertically on an unimproved forward site. Crew: one Max speed: .88 Mach at sea level Armament: 25-mm gun, Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, Maverick air-to-ground missile, Laser-guided and gravity bombs, Rocket launchers.
January 17, 1991
The enormous concentration of U.S. weapons in the gulf features some of the world's most advanced airplanes and helicopters. Deployed from land bases and U.S. aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf region, these aircraft offer allied forces decisive first-strike capabilities. Sensitive targets in Iraq Major Iraqi Air Bases: Irbil, Basra, Habbaniyah, An Nasiriyah, Kirkuk, Mosul, Shu-aiba, H-3, H-2. Major Nuclear Power Plants: Basra, Dibis, Baghdad.
September 26, 1990 |
The Navy has decided to partially waive a contract suspension against Northrop Corp. so that it can obtain critically needed electronic sensors for its AV-8B Harrier, which has been dogged by higher than expected failures of the part, it was disclosed Tuesday.