MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP BUTLER, Okinawa, Japan - 1st Marine Aircraft Wing has completed an inquiry into the incident involving a CH-53E where a window came loose and fell in the area of a sports field of Daini Futenma Elementary School on December 13th. A thorough inquiry determined that the incident was caused by human error. The window in question is designed to be removed in order to assist pilot egress in an emergency situation. The appropriate procedures for ensuring the window was secured were not correctly followed. We have conducted additional training to reinforce these procedures with our aircrews and maintenance crews.
1st MAW has taken comprehensive actions to ensure the safety of all Okinawa-based CH-53E aircraft, the aircrew that fly in them, and our broader community. All CH-53E aircraft have been thoroughly inspected, to include ensuring there are no mechanical or structural problems associated with the windows. 1st MAW will continue to inspect and conduct comprehensive maintenance on all of our aircraft in order to conduct safe flight operations. Additionally, we have conducted a review with maintenance crews of proper maintenance procedures and commander-driven briefs to all air crew on proper flight safety procedures. Further, we have thoroughly retrained our personnel on the specific procedures that were not properly executed in this incident. Within our current squadron-level safety program we will continue to conduct routine maintenance days and safety meetings monthly to reinforce proper maintenance and pre-flight procedures.
This incident is regrettable, and we again apologize for the anxiety it has caused the community. We strive to be good members of the Okinawan community and to ensure the safety of both our personnel and our community in which we live and serve.
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