MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP BUTLER, Okinawa, Japan – CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters stationed here will resume normal flight operations Wed, Oct. 18, following government of Japan and Okinawa Prefectural Government leadership notification.
Aviation experts have conducted a thorough review of the maintenance records and found no issues with the standard maintenance practices, actions, technical directives, periodic inspections and no operational matters to warrant concern. The Commanding General, Marine Corps Forces Japan, Lt. Gen. Lawrence D. Nicholson, is satisfied that the CH-53E aircraft is prepared to return to safe flight operations. This decision is not taken lightly, and was only decided upon following consultation with 1st Marine Aircraft Wing aviation professionals, and subject matter experts from the U.S. Naval Safety Center who arrived on Okinawa from the continental United States to assist in the overall investigation.
"We are committed to the safety of flight for all USMC aviation assets in Japan. We take the safety of our aircrews and the citizens of Okinawa seriously," said Nicholson. "I would never allow an aircrew to operate an aircraft that I thought was unsafe. The CH-53E is a reliable aircraft that has served this Alliance successfully for many decades here on Okinawa and in mainland Japan."
Working closely with Government of Japan and local officials, we are conducting salvage and recovery operations of the aircraft quickly and safely to return the land as soon as possible. We will continue to share information with the government of Japan as details become available and in accordance with the Status of Forces Agreement.