Generals' hard drives could hold Osprey answers

Generals' hard drives could hold Osprey answers

By Dawn S. Onley

GCN Staff

MARCH 2—Defense Department investigators reportedly have seized data from the computers of two Marine Corps generals to learn whether an alleged cover-up of maintenance problems with the V-22 Osprey aircraft was ordered from the top.

The Washington Post reported today that the Defense inspector general recently took data from the hard drives of Lt. Gen. Fred McCorkle, who heads Marine aviation, and McCorkle's assistant, Brig. Gen. James F. Amos.

First Lt. David Nevers, a Corps spokesman, said, "We've asked for this investigation and we've been fully cooperating. We're confident the inspector general will determine the validity of the allegations, and that's been our goal.''

Since 1991, tilt-motor Osprey aircraft have been involved in four accidents, three of them fatal. Critics have questioned the safety record and the Osprey's price tag, which would be $30 billion if the aircraft is brought into full production.

The inspector general is investigating whether falsified maintenance records at the Osprey squadron headquarters at Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C., led to the most recent crash on Dec. 11 and another fatal accident last April.

Lt. Col. Odin F. Leberman was relieved of the squadron command after an anonymous letter accused him of ordering the concealment of maintenance problems. Investigators reportedly confiscated Leberman's computer, and he was replaced by Col. Richard Dunnivan.

During a January press conference, McCorkle said the December accident appeared to have been caused by hydraulic and computer software problems. He said he was confident they had nothing to do with the maintenance cover-up allegations, pilot error or inherent design problems.

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