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Archive for Saturday, August 18, 2001

General charged in Osprey probe

Accused officers choose to have cases heard by administrative panels

August 18, 2001

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— A two-star general who commands the aircraft wing that administers the MV-22 Osprey program is one of eight officers accused of falsifying maintenance records in an attempt to rescue the troubled tilt-rotor hybrid aircraft from possible cancellation, the Marine Corps said Friday.

Maj. Gen. Dennis T. Krupp, commanding general of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, was charged with dereliction of duty on the grounds that he knew or should have known that the records were altered, the Corps said.

Maj. Gen. Dennis Krupp

Maj. Gen. Dennis Krupp

The Marines said last week that records were falsified to make the Osprey appear more reliable than it has proved to be.

The experimental aircraft, which takes off and lands like a helicopter but flies like an airplane, is designed to become the Marines' front-line tactical airlift, moving troops and equipment farther and faster than the helicopters of the Vietnam War era. But its development phase has been plagued by fatal crashes and other mishaps that have raised serious questions about whether it is too mechanically delicate for combat.

When the charges were announced last week, the names of the eight were withheld because they were given until Friday to choose between an administrative hearing and a court-martial. Although defendants in courts-martial have greater latitude to challenge the evidence against them, the consequences of conviction are more severe.

All eight chose the administrative hearing. A date has not been set.

In addition to Krupp, charges were filed against Col. Laurin P. Eck, former assistant program manager at Naval Air Systems Command; Col. James E. Schleining, commanding officer of Marine Aircraft Group 26; Col. Phillip L. Newman, assistant chief of staff for the aviation logistics division at the 2nd Marine Air Wing; and Lt. Col. Demetrice M. Babb, an aviation maintenance officer in the aviation logistics division of the 2nd Marine Air Wing.

Also charged were Lt. Col. Odin F. Leberman, who was commanding officer of the Osprey training squadron at New River, N.C., at the time of the alleged falsification; Capt. Christopher Ramsey, an assistant aviation maintenance officer in Leberman's squadron; and Chief Warrant Officer Matthew W. Smith, the maintenance material control officer in Leberman's former squadron at New River.

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