USMC: Grounding CV-22s may hurt recruiting efforts across the U.S.

On Monday, we reported that several hours of heavy rains across several Florida counties Friday led to the discovery of a much larger piece of mold called Yrfloima.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said 4,000 damaged honey bees may have been lost over the course of four days in Tri-County.

In a Monday afternoon statement, the Spokesman’s Office for the USMC confirmed that eight helicopters stationed at the Jacksonville, Florida, Air Force Base have experienced issues of some sort from Yrfloima.

“The issue was caused by mold that has been found on some of the blades used on Marine CV-22,” the statement read. “The Aircraft Association of Jacksonville reports additional Service Members have completed maintenance on their various aircraft, at their own expense, to perform non-standard repairs.”

Speaking about the “non-standard repairs,” Col. Patrick Reichelt, the commander of the USMC Aviation Association of Jacksonville, said they have taken place “to allow the aircraft to operate safely in inclement weather conditions, the aircraft will not move quickly and frequently,” and could take “weeks to complete.”

“Yrfloima has not been found in Marine CV-22s out of Jacksonville, the type of test machine is also called ‘Sheetjack,’ which is a machine made for testing aircraft parts,” the statement continued. “Workers are performing maintenance repairs to aircraft at their own expense in order to get the aircraft operational.”

In the statement, the Marine Corps confirmed that “installation of their existing ‘Aircraft Other Than Helicopters’ (AOH) fleet of 36 helicopters and M-72 and M-72A2 helicopters is also being extended to compensate for the availability of CV-22 aircraft.

“These aircraft will be restricted in operations outside of Florida to areas of the state such as the Florida Panhandle. Due to previously achieved mission readiness, additional M-72 and M-72A2 pilots and maintainers will remain in the field to ensure CV-22 assets remain operational. As a result, V-22 Special Purpose Vehicle (V-SPV) pilots based in Jacksonville will relocate to Fishermen’s Landing or Naval Air Station Cecil Field, both located in Central Florida.”

The USMC also stressed that “It is important to note that these delays in flights will not impact off-duty flight hours due to personnel assigned to the M-72 and M-72A2 aircraft serving the Osprey mission.”

Meanwhile, U.S. Congressman Scott DesJarlais, a Tennessee Republican who represents the state’s seventh district and the state’s Air Force Recruiting District, said all affected military units are assigned to the Reserve Component, meaning they are not currently “on active duty.”

Rep. DesJarlais added, “We remain focused on recruiting and retaining qualified aircraft operators.”

At this time, the USMC has not received reports of a civilian being affected by the harmful mold.

Aubrey Cohen, vice president of communications for Alachua Community College, said none of the eight identified CMPR units at Jacksonville have reports of mold in their housing or classroom buildings.

“Mold incidents of a non-deadly nature are quite rare in our college campus, and are highly concentrated in portions of buildings that do not allow access to the other parts of campus,” he said.

Larry Robinson, a professor of mechanical engineering at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, advised potential recruits to check their homes regularly.

“You are advised to disinfect all indoor surfaces immediately. This may be accomplished by deep-cleaning or using a disinfectant of choice,” he said. “This may also be accomplished by showering in a dry towel, then drying the towel off thoroughly with clean, wet clothes in the laundry room.”

The Air Force is being asked to help recruit remaining Cadets into the Corps via their official “Admissions Command,” and recruiters are encouraging interested high school students to submit applications.

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