Latest incident to hit military aviation

Disaster was averted when a Marine Corps KC-130J with 46 passengers aboard safely landed after losing cabin pressure at 21,000 feet, Corps officials said on Thursday.

The incident happened about 11:20 a.m. on Tuesday during a scheduled training mission, a Marine Corps news release says. The plane was from Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352 based at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in California.

The KC-130J is a newer version of the type of aircraft that crashed last month in Mississippi.

Four Marines and one sailor were treated for decompression sickness at Naval Medical Center San Diego and later released, the release says. The Marines and sailor are assigned to 3rd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion based at Camp Pendleton, California.

Investigators are working to determine how the plane lost cabin pressure. It is the latest in a string of incidents to plague military aviation. Five soldiers remain missing after their Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crashed Tuesday off Hawaii.

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller recently ordered that Marine squadrons suspend flight operations for 24 hours after two deadly crashes back-to-back: Three Marines were killed on Aug. 5 when an MV-22B Osprey crashed off Australia; and 15 Marines and one sailor were killed on July 10 when their KC-130T crashed in Mississippi.

“The temporary grounding of all Marine Corps aircraft is the latest example of the readiness crisis that threatens to cripple the U.S. military’s advantage over our adversaries,” Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said on Aug. 12. “Unless we take immediate action to rebuild our military, restore readiness, and reinvest in modernization, we will risk sending our troops into battle unprepared. Congress should swiftly pass the National Defense Authorization Act, reach a budget deal, and deliver our men and women in uniform the resources they need and deserve.”

So far, few of his fellow lawmakers seem to be heeding McCain’s warning.