Commanding general in deadly California AAV investigation is given leave, Navy launches investigation

A congressional hearing Monday, May 4, focused on testimony from two top Marine leaders regarding the recently released investigation into a summer training accident in which nine men died, including three from Southern California when their amphibious assault vehicle sank off San Clemente Island.

Lawmakers asked about how the accident was able to occur, which the Marines’ investigation described as preventable, and what changes the Marines are making to prevent future accidents.

Members of the House Armed Services readiness subcommittee were looking to address their ongoing concern there may be a broader lapse in safety amid an uptick that has been seen the last few year in military training accidents and deaths compared to those related to combat. They have previously held hearings on vehicle rollovers and aviation collisions across military branches.

John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, who heads the subcommittee, noted that in the last five years, 60 service members have died in accidents in the Marine Corps and 137 have died in a decade.

The hearing included testimony from the fathers of two of the men who died in the July 30 training accident when the AAV they rode in took on too much water as it tried to reach an awaiting Navy ship.

Peter Ostrovsky, whose son, Pfc. Jack-Ryan Ostrovsky, 20, from Bend, Ore., was among those who died, spoke in the hearing about his son and his own experiences as a federal law enforcement officer and his understanding of leadership and accountability.

He told Gen. Gary Thomas, the Marine’s assistant commandant, and Maj. Gen. Gregg Olsen, assistant deputy commandant, representing the Corps at the hearing, and Vice Admiral Roy Kitchener, who represented the Navy, a bit about his son, that he was an avid outdoorsman who also enjoyed marksmanship training and military history.

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He said it was his son’s dream to become a Marine so he could “serve his country and do things that you could not do in the civilian world.”

Instead of becoming an officer by going to college, Ostrovsky said his son wanted to start at the bottom as a grunt and joined the infantry.

“Jack-Ryan loved being a Marine and we loved that he loved being a Marine,” he said. “With only 13 months of service, he was already talking about re-enlisting and his dream of pursuing a billet in special operations and making the military his lifelong career.”

Ostrovsky, a former special agent with the Department of Homeland Security, said in his own career he planned, conducted and approved many high-risk law enforcement operations, which gave him an understanding what is required in leadership.

“We expect that the Marine Corps and Navy hold accountable, from top-down, all of those who were responsible for this preventable catastrophic incident, through all of the means that are at their disposal and with transparency,” he said. “We also expect that US military systems of accountability and liability be modernized, as a way to ensure that every day moving forward military officers fully appreciate and know the realities of their burden of command so …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

      

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