Investigation Finds That Faulty Equipment & Inadequate Training Killed Servicemen in Avoidable Accidents, And The Problems Have Not Been Fixed
As reported on by ProPublica, in early February, the House Armed Services Committee members questioned Marine and Navy leaders about the number of Marines and sailors that died in avoidable accidents and whether the faulty equipment and training problems that led to these deaths had been fixed such that troops would be ready if America went to war. At the formal hearing, lawmakers specifically focused on the three fatal accidents that occurred in the Pacific; one in 2018 involving a mid-air crash between two marine corps planes and two in 2017 involving navy destroyers crashing into commercial vessels. ProPublica’s investigations found that not only were the crews involved in these accidents undertrained, but equipment was faulty and degraded and warnings about unsafe conditions were also ignored up the chain of command. In addition, the Marine Corps blamed the squadrons aviators and leaders, calling them reckless. In fact, there is information that the Marine Corps’ report falsely claimed that the use of Ambien and sexual promiscuity led to disregard for safety issues within the squadron.
In addition, throughout the hearing it appeared clear that not enough is being done to improve the safety of our troops and the general public. Even the Marine Corps’ deputy commandant for aviation acknowledged that the squadron involved in the 2018 crash was still not where they should have been in terms of being prepared for combat and a lot of work still needed to be done to date. In fact, ProPublica found out that there was a safety investigation kept confidential, which traced the 2018 accident to senior commanders who had knowingly provided the squadron with faulty equipment and ignored requests for more time and resources for training. None of this information was ever shared with the public or the families of the fallen Marines.
Supreme Court Asked to Reconsider Application of Feres Doctrine in These Circumstances
Historically, the courts have used the Feres Doctrine to dismiss lawsuits brought against the government for wrongful death. However, the Supreme Court has just recently been asked to weigh in on whether the Doctrine applies to alleged military negligence that takes place even before combat, for example, during recruitment or training exercises, as occurred in these circumstances. In addition, a revision to the Doctrine was signed into the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act in December which, for the first time, allows active-duty military personnel to seek compensation for malpractice caused by military physicians; indicating that the law surrounding the Doctrine in general is changing.
If You or A Loved One Has Been Harmed by Negligence or Willful Conduct, Contact Our Texas Injury & Wrongful Death Attorneys
If you have lost a loved one due to the negligent or willful conduct of an individual, government entity, or company, Houston wrongful death attorney Sue E. West at the West Law Office understands just how important it is to pursue the truth and justice. Contact our office today to set up a free consultation to discuss your options.