National Security

‘Your Whole Program Is Done’: Gold Star Families Unsatisfied With Pentagon’s Explanation Of Troubled Aircraft Program

(Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

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Jake Smith Contributor
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Gold Star families on Wednesday appeared unsatisfied with the Pentagon’s explanation of the troubled Osprey aircraft program.

Pentagon officials testified before the House Oversight Committee on National Security on Wednesday to discuss the history of the V-22 Osprey program — a vertical takeoff aircraft that can shift its propulsion engines to travel forward — that has been involved in a series of fatal crashes since its inception. But the testimony Gold Star families heard from officials left them with unanswered questions as to the Osprey’s safety, even as the Pentagon plans to reintroduce the aircraft into full fleet operations. (RELATED: Pentagon Lifts Osprey Flight Ban Despite Obscure Messaging On Safety Improvements)

The Pentagon has presented “conflicting information” as to whether it is investigating all Osprey crash incidents, the House Oversight Committee said on Wednesday.

“The families submitted some questions that we had hoped to be answered,” Amber Sax, wife of Capt. John Sax, who was killed in an Osprey crash in 2022, told ABC News. “Not all of them were answered. I would say the majority actually were not, unfortunately.”

(Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

Rear Admiral Mark A Handley, Commander of 1st Naval Construction Division NCD and his staff disembark a V-22 Osprey in the Bakwa District of Farah Province, Afghanistan, during a visit to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion NMCB 11, Farah Province, Afghanistan, 2012. Image courtesy Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jonathan Carmichael/US Navy. (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images).

“For the most part, I have to say no,” Bart Collart, father of a Marine serviceman who died in an Osprey crash in August, told in response to a question whether he felt Pentagon officials provided sufficient information during the hearing. “It was a little disappointing on the little amount of information that we gleaned from the whole thing. You want to hear [that] ‘We’ve done all this research, we found out that these are the problems we need to address, and this is how we plan on addressing those problems.’ … But we got none of that.”

A string of deadly Osprey crashes prompted the Pentagon to ban the use of the aircraft in military operations in late 2023. The ban was lifted in March, even amid concerns that the Pentagon hadn’t fully answered questions as to the Osprey’s safety and reliability.

“Osprey crews, their families, and the families of those who have been lost deserve to know the cause of these crashes, and what is being done to prevent them in the future,” Timothy Loranger, Marine veteran and attorney representing families of a fatal June 2022 Osprey crash, told

Vice Adm. Carl Chebi, head of Naval Air Systems Command, told the Oversight Committee on National Security during the hearing that the Osprey program won’t be fully integrated into defense operations until thorough investigations are completed, according to

“Your whole program is done, it’s done. If another Osprey goes down, we’re done,” Democratic Massachusetts Rep. Stephen Lynch said during the hearing, reported. “So, why don’t we ground this now? Ground this now. Don’t allow any other brave Marine or airmen to go down in one of these aircraft.”

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