The U.S. Marine Corps have reached their “breaking point” under President Barack Obama, as they have been worn thin from budget cuts and long wars.
A Fox News report found that drastic military spending cuts–$691 billion in 2010 to $560 billion in 2015–were implemented as planes were returning from overseas that were decaying from “overuse and extreme wear and tear.” Because of the dearth of funding, the parts that are needed to repair the F-18 planes can take up to 18 months to arrive. The Marines had to cannibalize other planes to repair other planes.
“Imagine taking a 1995 Cadillac and trying to make it a Ferrari,” Sgt. Argentry Uebelhoer told Fox News. “You’re trying to make it faster, more efficient, but it’s still an old airframe … [and] the aircraft is constantly breaking.”
The result has been detrimental in many ways to the Marines. Because there has been a reduction of 30,000 Marines since 2010, some Marines have had to endure 21-hour work days to maintain the aircraft. Many have bolted for the private sector
“We don’t have enough of them to do the added work efficiently,” Maj. Michael Malone of Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 31 said. “We are making it a lot harder on the young Marines who are fixing our aircraft.”
The danger of having so few people maintaining the aircraft is that it becomes more likely that a faulty part of the aircraft isn’t discovered.
“It would be easy to miss some small minute detail, some small amount of wear [which] could potentially, eventually cause a fire,” Maj. Matt Gruba said.
For example, back in 2014, a Navy MH-53E Sea Dragon crashed as a result of a defective fuel line that sparked a fire.
Flight time has also suffered as a result. A decade ago, the average flight time was 25-30 hours for Marine pilots. In the past 30 days, that average time was four hours per pilot. In fact, an anonymous pilot told Fox News that both Russia and China have higher flight times each month than the U.S.
Additionally, most Marine aircraft can’t even fly. For instance, only 30 percent of F/A-18 Hornet strike fighters can currently fly, as well as only 42 out of 147 CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters.
“The biggest thing is right now after 15 years of hard service, of hard fighting and deploying around the world, is we don’t have enough airplanes on the flight line,” Lt. Gen. Jon M. “Dog” Davis, the Marine Corps’ aviation deputy commandant, said.
The military budget cuts have had a detrimental effect on the military in general. For instance, U.S. Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley warned that the military was not currently prepared to take on Russia, China, Iran or North Korea.
“(The Army) is not at the levels that can execute satisfactorily … in terms of time, cost in terms of casualties or cost in terms of military objectives,” Milley told the House Armed Services committee.
(h/t: Young Conservatives)