That day is rapidly approaching when the Marines’ fabled “Every Marine a Rifleman, uh, Rifle Entity” slogan will be literally true: when the last few flyable Marine jets and helicopters join the 70% that are already down for maintenance and lack of spare parts.
In some cases, like the non-Super F/A-18s, spare airframe parts have not been made in such a long period of time that Marines have to raid museums for them.
Sometimes it takes the Marines 18 months to get parts for early model F-18 jets whose production was halted in 2001.
“We are an operational squadron. We are supposed to be flying jets, not building them,” said Lt. Col. Harry Thomas, Commanding Officer of VMFA-312.
But hey, the Marine-hating Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, has a plan. He’s going to replace the parts, and the 30,000 Marines that he’s dumped, who otherwise might have installed them, with genuine fabulous fairy dust, thanks to his laserlike focus on transgender toilets for all.
It’s not like cutting corners has real consequences, eh?
Lt. Col Harry Thomas, call sign “Crash,” deployed to the Pacific with 10 jets last year. Only seven made it. A fuel leak caused his F/A-18 to catch fire in Guam. Instead of ejecting, he landed safely, saving taxpayers $29 million.
You know, if Thomas flew an operational mission and lost three of his jets, Mabus would have him canned. If he loses three jets because Mabus diverted O&M funds into social engineering, well, crickets then, and how do you like your fierce new tranny cans?
But hey, that was the low point, right, 7 of 10 jets operational. Just about anywhere, 70% is passing, and Ray Mabus grades on a curve so it’s an A…
But that wasn’t the low point:
Right now only two of his 14 Hornets can fly. His Marines deploy in three months.
“We are supposed to be doing the type of maintenance like you would take your car to Jiffy Lube for replacing fluids, doing minor inspections, changing tires, things of that nature, not building airplanes from the ground up,” he added.
Marine jet pilots are down to 4 hours a month, less than Chinese or Russian peers and down from 25-30 hours in the air BM, which seems like a suitable acronym for Before Mabus.
What they’re doing with the spare time is unclear, but odds are it’s attending SHARP briefings or working on flash cards of the fifty-odd Genders-with-a-capital-G that Mabus’s Navy considers superior to the ancient Cismale Heteronormative Patriarchy.
The latest Beltway Brainstorm is just to keep flying 1980s- and 90s-vintage F/A-18s, already committed to fly 2,000 hours beyond their design life of 6,000 hours, to 10,000 hours or more.
And the Marines’ helicopters? Apart from a baker’s dozen tiltrotor squadrons, which finally allowed the retirement of the last LBJ-era CH-46s last year, they operate patched and bandaged 1970s versions of Vietnam War types.