Marines are Flying More Than the Air Force

Marines are Flying More Than the Air Force

The Marine Corps’ aviators have increased their monthly flight hours per pilot, and are now flying substantially more than Air Force pilots, military officials said.

Both the Marine Corps and Air Force are facing pilot shortages and aircraft readiness problems that have left a large number of aircraft grounded.

But the Marine Corps says it has made strides over the past year increasing monthly flight hours.

The Marines are averaging between 14 to 16 hours a month per pilot per aircraft, while the Air Force is averaging just a little above nine to 10 hours per pilot per month, according to testimony Wednesday from Gen. Glenn M. Walters, the Marine Corps assistant commandant, and Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Stephen W. Wilson at a Senate Armed Services hearing on military readiness.

Average monthly flight hours is an important metric for the services, an indicator of how much training and experience their pilots have. The Corps has frequently cited lower flight hours as a potential reason for numerous air mishaps that have plagued the Marines over the last couple years.

In 2017, the Marines had 12 air incidents that resulted in either death or more than $2 million in damages, also known as a class A mishap. The Marines have steadily been pushing to increase flight hours and to get more aircraft and pilots in the air.

But flight hours can fluctuate drastically from unit to unit, especially with pilots are deployed down range.

“Why do you think the Marines are ahead of you on this?” Oklahoma Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe asked Gen. Wilson.

“I don’t have a good reason why they are ahead of us,” Wilson replied.

Wilson said the Air Force is trying to catch up by increasing manpower, productivity, instructor pilots and capacity to help pilots increase their flight hours.

“We are trying to increase about an hour per month going forward this year,” Wilson told the senator.

Aviation readiness has been a problem impacting all the services. Last year the Corps reported that nearly half their F/A-18 Hornets couldn’t fly and those numbers have only improved slightly with the increase of 44 new aircraft, Walters said.

Marine Commandant Gen. Robert B. Neller said in late January that the Corps has too many Hornets. The service is trying to push out older legacy aircraft and replace them with a new generation of fighters and rotary wing aircraft. The Marines just can’t afford to keep all the aircraft maintained and serviced, Neller said.

Moreover, pilot shortages have plagued both the Air Force and Marines as competition from commercial airlines continues to pluck away trained and experienced pilots while military budget woes are grounding pilots and aircraft.

But more bonuses and bigger paychecks are not necessarily the answer to the problem.

“They don’t come in to get rich, they come to fly,” Walters said, about the motivation that keeps pilots in the service.

The Pentagon’s FY19 budget is expected to address some of these issues.

Originally posted here>>

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8 comments


  • JERRY CLARK

    GORGE, YES I REMEMBER THE FIREBALL. IT WAS WHEN A FUEL DUMP WAS HIT BY ROCKETS. I WAS AT CAMP CARROLL THAT DAY. WAS PICKING UP REPLACEMENTS THAT DAY. HOTEL COMPANY WAS DUG IN BETWEEN CAM LO AND CAMP CARROLL. LONG WALK BACK TO UNIT SCARED AS HELL, ME AND 6 NEW GRUNTS. JUST AS WE REACHED OUR FOX HOLES WE WERE ALSO HIT BY ROCKETS AND MORTARS AND ONE OF THE NEW GUYS WAS KILLED. SAD BECAUSE I NEVER EVEN KNEW HIS NAME. WAS ALSO AT DONG HA IN JUNE 68 WHEN THE AMMO DUMP WAS HIT. WAS ALSO IN AMBUSH ON JANUARY 23, 68 BETWEEN DONG HA AND CAMP ARROLL. WAS MY 1ST DAY WITH HOTEL 2/9. WE LOST A LOT OF MEN THAT DAY. MY BEST FRIEND THAT JOINED THE MARINE CORP WITH ME WAS KILLED AUGUST 23, 68 . REMEMBER THE B-52 ARC LIGHTS, WE HAD ONE CLOSE ENOUGH TO BOUNCE US OFF THE GROUND WHEN THE SHOCK WAVES HIT. IF THERE IS ANYTHING I CAN DO FOR YOU MY E-MAIL IS JCLARK218@AOL.COM. HOPE YOU ARE DOING WELL. SEMPER FI. OLD 2/9 GRUNT.


  • Harry

    OOPS! mean’t to say ” Super Grunt” in previous comment . Harry


  • George A Gilles, Vietnam 67/68, 2nd Battalion 9th Marines 81mm Mortars

    Semper Fi! Spent my time at Camp Carroll and along the DMZ. TET was not a good time for our Marines as many did not come back (RIP). Glad to see 2/9 Marines that made it home. Jerry, do you remember a big fireball at Camp Carroll in March of 1968? I was burnt but I can’t find anyone who remembers this incident.


  • Harry

    OOH! RAH!! Murray! Great to here a comment from a fellow 1371 Combat Engr.Did road sweeps and bridges in Dodge City area between Da-Nang and Hoi-An also spent a lot of time at Liberty Bridge and Phu-Loc (6) (Dia-Loc Area). ” Suoer Grunt 1371″ Semper Fi!! Harry RVN 68-69 Buy the way, We did a similar comparison with the pilots. Marine pilots most always came in lower than all the rest.


  • Murray Hermanson

    Jerry I was an engineer, explosives that why I was with so many different units. I was with Hotel 2/9 the last part of Apr67 till end of May67 Shawnee II in the mountains and Hickory northeast of Con Thien. June 3/9 and1/9. Lucky for Me and the rest of my follow engineers we were at Dong Ha Sunday, the 2nd of July 1967 standing in formation waiting to get a beer about 4:00 in the afternoon when 1/9 took on heavy shit. I think by 4:30 I was with Lima 3/9 trying to get what was left of two companies of 1/9. I know a lot has been written on this, some true and some not so true. Funny they told us not to say anything. It took longer then they say to get them. We couldn’t even move up. Met some good grunts lost a lot there and in the days to come. They named it Buffalo as an operation after the fact, cause we would have been with them if it was an operation. It was just a company size patrol that hit the shit and another company went to help when the shit really hit the fan and they called in every unit that they could 3 Marines came in off the float. Did they still have duty cuties in the Hospital in Japan in June on 68 I was there in Aug67.


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