A Navy officer and four senior enlisted leaders are facing non-judicial punishment in connection to the leak of shipboard video footage showing the harrowing Jan. 24 crash of an F-35C Lightning II jet on the deck of the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson while the ship was deployed to the South China Sea.
The video shows the jet hitting the deck, catching fire and then sliding the length of the carrier before falling into the sea.
A Navy ensign, a senior chief and three chiefs have all been charged with failure to obey an order under Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
Naval Air Forces spokesman Cmdr. Zach Harrell declined to identify the accused or confirm where their cases are in the legal process.
While the investigation into the leaked video is complete, the investigation into the crash remains ongoing, Harrell said.
The Navy has yet to salvage the wreckage. Seven sailors were injured in the mishap, including the pilot who ejected.
“We remain grateful to the highly trained Sailors aboard Carl Vinson who immediately responded to ensure that the pilot was recovered from the water, all injured personnel were cared for, and flight deck was cleared and re-set for operations,” Harrell said in a statement. “After a short pause in accordance with safety procedures, the rapid response from the crew enabled flight operations resume with minimal impact to mission requirements.”
U.S. Naval Institute News first reported the charges.
Navy Times’s sister news site, Defense News, reported this week that the crash severed all four of the arresting cables on the Vinson’s deck, which are used to catch and stop landing jets.
The Vinson’s crew had the deck cleared and ready to resume launches and landings within 45 minutes, Defense News reported.
Geoff is a senior staff reporter for Military Times, focusing on the Navy. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was most recently a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at email@example.com.