The Few, The Proud, The Careless

An investigation into a military crash near Japan revealed Marine Corps pilots frequently engaged in inappropriate activities while flying, including reading books.

Members of a U.S. Marine Corps unit involved in a deadly air crash off Shikoku last December frequently engaged in inappropriate activities during flights, such as reading books and taking selfies, a U.S. military report revealed Tuesday.

The report follows the midair collision of a Marine Corps F/A-18 fighter jet and a KC-130 aerial tanker off the coast of Kochi Prefecture on Dec. 6, 2018. The aircraft, which were conducting a nighttime aerial refueling mission, crashed into the Pacific Ocean, killing six onboard.

Several members based at U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in western Japan were found to have removed their oxygen masks and taken both hands off of the aircraft controls to read books or to groom their beards during flights. In one instance, a pilot was found to have shared a selfie taken during a flight on social media.

Those same pilots are probably also the first ones to criticize the flying of those killed in the crash. I get it, peacetime flights can be boring, but if you cannot be a professional, there’s no reason you should keep your wings.