Air Force squadron commander removed after Osprey crash

The tilt-rotor CV-22 Osprey can fly like an airplane and land like a helicopter.

Story highlights

  • Osprey crashed last week in Florida during routine training mission
  • Officials are no long confident in his effectiveness, wing commander says
  • Five crew members were injured in the crash
  • The cause is under investigation
An Air Force squadron commander has been removed a week after a tilt-rotor CV-22 Osprey crashed in Florida during a routine training mission, injuring five, military officials said Friday.
Officials were no longer confident in his effectiveness, said Col. Jim Slife, commander of the 1st Special Operations Wing.
"The challenges of the 8th Special Operations Squadron's demanding mission require new leadership to maintain the highest levels of precision and to reliably support the ground forces which count on the 8th SOS to safely accomplish their missions," Slife said in a statement, without providing details.
Lt. Col. Matt Glover of Austin, Texas, had led the 8th Special Operations Squadron since May 2011, according to the Hurlburt Field website. The squadron is one of nine operating in the wing.
Slife said the new squadron commander has extensive history in the Osprey program.
The crash occurred about 6:45 p.m. June 13 at Hurlburt Field's Eglin Range, said Amy Nicholson, chief of public affairs at the airfield. The cause remains under investigation, Slife said.
The Osprey was assigned to the 1st Special Operations Wing, the Air Force said.
The tilt-rotor aircraft can fly like an airplane and land like a helicopter.
The Army began developing the Osprey in 1982, though the program was nearly scrapped in 1989 when Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney sought to cancel it because of ballooning costs.
Questions were raised about the safety of the Osprey after two crashes, including one in 1992 at a Marine Corps air base in Virginia that killed the crew.
In late 2000, the Marine Corps grounded the Osprey fleet after two more crashes: one in Arizona that killed four crew members and 15 passengers and another in North Carolina that killed the crew.
A redesign was ordered, and the craft resumed flights in 2002.
The Air Force began using Ospreys in 2008 after testing the aircraft in 2006. The Marines deployed them in Iraq in 2007 after 18 years and $20 billion in development.