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Navy Pilot Lost in C-2 Crash 'Flew the Hell Out of That Airplane'

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A Navy lieutenant who lost his life while working to save his passengers in a C-2 Greyhound crash last week may be recommended for an award, an official said Monday.

Lt. Steven Combs, the pilot of the aircraft, was one of three sailors who died when the aircraft crashed Nov. 22 in the Pacific Ocean en route to the carrier Ronald Reagan from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan. Eight other sailors, including the co-pilot, were rescued from the water.

Combs managed to execute a landing on the water, giving the four aircrew and seven passengers the best opportunity to get clear of the aircraft and reach safety. The difficulty of such a landing with the cargo aircraft was compounded by high seas, which by some reports reached 10 to 12 feet, said Cmdr. Ronald Flanders, a spokesman for Naval Air Forces.

“They did not have a lot of notice that they were going to have to ditch just miles from the carrier,” Flanders told Military.com. “To use the words of his co-pilot who told us, ‘[Combs] flew the hell out of that plane.'”

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Flanders added that the possibility of a posthumous award for Combs in light of his actions was under discussion.

Combs, who was commissioned in 2011 and reported to Fleet Logistics Squadron 30 in 2015, had served aboard Ronald Reagan as a detachment assistant operations officer and administrative officer, according to a Navy release. During his career, he had logged more than 1,200 flight hours and 100 carrier-arrested landings.

Navy personnel were able to rescue the eight survivors within an hour of the C-2 going down southwest of Okinawa. On Nov. 25, the Navy identified those lost as Combs, Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Equipment) Airman Matthew Chialastri and Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Apprentice Bryan Grosso.

Multiple sources have reported that engine failure is suspected as a cause of the crash, though an investigation is still underway.

“Clearly there was something amiss with the aircraft and basically they were not close enough to the carrier to try to bring it in,” Flanders said.

On Saturday, the Ronald Reagan held a memorial service to commemorate the lives of Combs, Chialastri and Grosso.

Capt. Michael Wosje, the commander of the Reagan’s Carrier Air Wing 5, paid special tribute to the fallen pilot.

“The loss of one of our pilots weighs heavily on the entire Carrier Air Wing Five team. Lt. Combs will always be remembered as a hero,” Wosje said, according to a news release. “I am proud to have flown with him.”

The commander of the carrier, Capt. Buzz Donnelly, also honored the sailors who died.

“The loss of these crew members hits across the entire ship with great significance,” said Capt. Buzz Donnelly, Ronald Reagan’s commanding officer. “On behalf of the entire crew of USS Ronald Reagan, I extend heartfelt prayers and sincere condolences to the families and friends of the three shipmates we lost.”

Less than a week after the tragic crash, the Navy has not moved to suspend or pause flight operations for the aging Greyhound, the service’s carrier onboard delivery platform for personnel and logistics.

Flanders noted that the current batch of the aircraft, C-2A(R), which began flying for the Navy in the mid-1980s, has an almost unprecedented safety record. There has been only one previous fatality — a tragic 1988 mishap in which an individual walked into the aircraft’s prop arc.

“This mishap was the first of its kind in several decades,” Flanders said of the most recent crash.

The Greyhounds now flying for the Navy recently underwent a service-life extension program that was completed in 2015. The transports are set to be retired and replaced by Navy-variant CMV-22 Ospreys in the mid-2020s.

— Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at hope.seck@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @HopeSeck.

© Copyright 2017 Military.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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How Rod Rosenstein is connected to Trump, Russia investigation

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As the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election – and any involvement from the Trump campaign – forges ahead, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has found himself on the receiving end of some Republicans’ ire.

Two months after a handful of House Republicans filed articles of impeachment against Rosenstein, the official once again rocked the Trump administration.

A bombshell report published by The New York Times on Sept. 21 alleges Rosenstein suggested secretly recording President Trump to expose chaos in the White House and enlisting Cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove him from office — accusations Rosenstein vehemently denied.

“The New York Times’s story is inaccurate and factually incorrect,” he told Fox News. “I will not further comment on a story based on anonymous sources who are obviously biased against the department and are advancing their own personal agenda. But let me clear about this: Based on my personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment.”

ROSENSTEIN REPORTEDLY DISCUSSED WEARING ‘WIRE,’ INVOKING 25TH AMENDMENT AGAINST TRUMP

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is spearheading the Russia probe, but Rosenstein, 53, still oversees the federal investigation as deputy attorney general.

In the articles of impeachment filed in July, the group of 11 House Republicans accused Rosenstein of intentionally withholding documents and information from Congress, failure to comply with congressional subpoenas and abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

“We’ve caught the Department of Justice hiding information, redacting information that they should not have redacted,” Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, previously told Fox News. Jordan, who was one of the lawmakers who introduced the articles, also claimed Rosenstein attempted to intimidate House staffers with subpoenas.

Read on for a look at how Rosenstein is connected to the Russia investigation.

What is Rosenstein’s job?

Rosenstein was confirmed by the Senate as deputy attorney general in April 2017.

More on the Russia investigation:

As deputy attorney general, he is responsible for day-to-day operations of the Justice Department and oversees its agencies, including the FBI.

How is he involved in the Russia investigation?

Rosenstein appointed Mueller as the special counsel to oversee the investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 election in May 2017.

The appointment came after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the probe, and Rosenstein stepped in to oversee the investigation.

At the time, Rosenstein said his decision to appoint a special counsel was “not a finding that crimes have been committed or that any prosecution is warranted.”

Under Justice Department regulations, Mueller must consult with Rosenstein when his investigators uncover new evidence that may fall outside his original mandate. Rosenstein then determines whether to allow Mueller to proceed or to assign the matter to another U.S. attorney or part of Justice.

According to a memo from Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, Rosenstein signed at least one FISA surveillance application that targeted Carter Page, a former foreign policy adviser on Trump’s campaign.

Did he have something to do with Comey’s firing?

Democrats were critical of Rosenstein after the White House used a memo he’d crafted as a reason to fire FBI Director James Comey in May 2017, Politico reported. Rosenstein reportedly drafted the memo after Trump had expressed his desire to fire Comey.

Rosenstein later told lawmakers on Capitol Hill that he stood by his memo. He said it was “not a finding of official misconduct” or “a statement of reasons to justify a for-cause termination.”

“Notwithstanding my personal affection for Director Comey, I thought it was appropriate to seek a new leader,” Rosenstein said.

What has the White House said about him?

As he has continued to deny any wrongdoing, Trump has been critical of the Russia investigation, particularly of Mueller’s handling of it.

In an April 11 tweet, Trump accused Mueller of being “conflicted” – and Rosenstein even more so.

Fox News’ Brooke Singman, Samuel Chamberlain, Gregg Re and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Kaitlyn Schallhorn is a Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter: @K_Schallhorn.

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Vegas odds revealed for 2020 presidential hopefuls — and long shots

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Vegas odds revealed for 2020 presidential hopefuls — and long shots

A Las Vegas oddsmaker has President Donald Trump favored to win the 2020 presidential election. Click to see the odds for a variety of candidates.

http://www.foxnews.com/”>Fox News

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A Las Vegas betting group has President Donald Trump as the favorite to win the 2020 election, giving him 3 to 1 odds

(AP)

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Senator Kamala Harris, a California Democrat, is the leading rival but with 10 to 1 odds

(Kamala Harris Campaign)

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Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, fueled 2020 rumors but will face an uphill battle with 15 to 1 odds

(AP)

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Oprah Winfrey shut down rumors about a potential run but her 30 to 1 odds favor her over House Speaker Paul Ryan

(Getty)

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Stormy Daniels’ attorney Michael Avenatti was given 40 to 1 odds, making him more favored than Hillary Clinton

(AP)

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Clinton was given 66 to 1 odds, placing her chances below Senator Bernie Sanders for 2020

(AP)

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Kanye West recently tweeted out the message “2024” but he was given 150 to 1 odds for the next presidential election

(AP)

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Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson dismissed rumors that he would run in 2020 but his 40 to 1 beat Clinton’s odds

(REUTERS)

dwayne-“the-rock”-johnson-dismissed-rumors-that-he-would-run-in-2020-but-his-40-to-1-beat-clinton’s-odds

US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley was given 50 to 1 odds despite Trump being the likely Republican candidate

(UN)

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was given 66 to 1 odds

(REUTERS)

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Congressional Leaks

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Congressional Leaks

Some of the most memorable congressional leaks over the years.

http://www.foxnews.com/”>Fox News

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Sen. Mike Gravel, D-Alaska taking oath in front of his family in Jan., 1969

Sen. Mike Gravel, D- Alaska, escaped punishment for disclosure of the Pentagon Papers in June 1971.

(Getty Images)

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Central Intelligence Agency Director William E. Colby with Sen. James Abourzek and Rep. Michael J. Harrington

In 1975, the House ethics committee dismissed charges that Michael J. Harrington, D-Mass., revealed secret CIA activities in Chile.

(AP Photo/Henry Griffin)

central-intelligence-agency-director-william-e.-colby-with-sen.-james-abourzek-and-rep.-michael-j.-harrington

Senators Pat Leahy (right) and Dave Durenberger at press conference on select committee on intelligence report

In 1987, the Senate Ethics Committee declined to investigate Dave Durenberger, R-Minn., after reports that he leaked classified information about U.S. spy recruitment.

(Getty Images)

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Ranking Member George E. Brown,D-Calif

In 1987, George E. Brown, D-Calif., (1963-71, 1973-99) angrily quit the House Intelligence panel after coming under fire from the Reagan administration for publicly discussing military satellite capabilities. Brown charged that the criticism was unwarranted because he had been able to discuss the same subjects without controversy before his appointment to the Intelligence Committee.

(Douglas Graham/Congressional Quarterly)

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Robert G. Torricelli ,D-N.J., qustions Beth E. Dozoretz, Managing Trustee of the Democratic National Committee during campaign finance hearings

In 1995, Robert G. Torricelli, D-N.J. (House, 1983-97; Senate, 1997-2003), nearly lost his seat on the House Intelligence Committee over allegations that he improperly released information about CIA operations in Guatemala.

Torricelli said the information he released came from sources outside the Intelligence Committee. He was eventually exonerated by the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct. A CIA investigation spurred by the revelations found serious wrongdoing by the agency.

(Douglas Graham/Congressional Quarterly)

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Republican presidential candidates Sen. Marco Rubio and Sen. Ted Cruz participate in the Fox News – Google GOP Debate

In 2015, Senate Intelligence Committee leaders said that they were not investigating whether Ted Cruz disclosed classified information during a Dec. 2015 GOP debate, despite the panel chairman’s comments, saying his staff was looking into the matter. During the Dec. 15 debate, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) seemed to imply that Cruz (R-Texas) disclosed classified information during a testy exchange on government surveillance powers and when Cruz was disputing Rubio’s attacks on the Texas senator’s national security credentials.

(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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Devin Nunes

In 2017, the House Ethics Committee closed an investigation into House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, clearing the California Republican of claims that he had made unauthorized disclosures of classified information. The investigation arose after Nunes told reporters at the White House that he had reviewed “intelligence reports” indicating that members of President Trump’s campaign had been swept up in foreign surveillance by U.S. spy agencies.

(Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

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