NORFOLK, Va. — The deadly E-2D Advanced Hawkeye crash on Virginia's Eastern Shore Wednesday was just the latest in a troubling string of aviation mishaps that have haunted the U.S. military for years.
The U.S. Navy said Lt. Hyrum Hanlon, assigned to Airborne Command and Control Squadron (VAW) 120, was the sailor who was killed. He was commissioned in the Navy from Arizona State University in May 2017 and reported to VAW-120 on Jan. 31, 2021.
Two weeks earlier, a Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey crashed in harsh weather conditions in Norway, killing four North Carolina-based Marines.
In January, a Navy F-35C Lightning II crashed on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, injuring seven sailors, and, plunging the $78 million jet into the South China Sea.
Unfortunately, this is not a new problem.
According to the bipartisan National Commission on Military Aviation Safety, the U.S. military experienced more than 6,000 aviation mishaps from 2013 to 2019, killing 224 pilots and aircrew members.
Those accidents destroyed 186 aircraft and cost more than $11.6 billion.
Lawmakers have long expressed concerns about the trend.
"Any preventable loss of life is unacceptable," said Rep John Garamendi, (D-California) during a March 2021 hearing of the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee.
He continued: "It is shameful that the nation with the most powerful military in the world loses more service members in non-combat settings than in war."
During a visit to Naval Station Norfolk in January, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Mike Gilday urged sailors to be ever-vigilant when it comes to safety issues.
Regarding Wednesday's Hawkeye crash, Gilday posted on Facebook: "Together we grieve the loss of our U.S. Navy shipmate... Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and our Navy team."
In a news release, U.S. Fleet Forces Command said the Navy has begun a salvage operation to recover the downed Hawkeye.
The Navy said the fuel tanks on the aircraft remain intact, and there are "no concerns to public health."
The Wingman Foundation, a group that helps the Navy and Marine Corps Aviation community and their families after mishaps, said in a Facebook post that it stands ready to support those affected.
"Our hearts and prayers are with the VAW-120 Greyhawks, their families and all those affected by the latest Naval Aviation mishap," the group wrote.