Magazine article American Libraries

Library Head Blamed for Marine Jet Crash

Magazine article American Libraries

Library Head Blamed for Marine Jet Crash

Article excerpt

Library head blamed for Marine jet crash

The head of the Technical Publications Library at Willow Grove (Pa.) Naval Air Station is one of two Marines recently discharged after investigators judged them responsible for the January crash of an A-4 attack jet in a Willow Grove neighborhood. The military charged former staff sergeant and library head Darel Scott Jones with failure to update a maintenance manual used by mechanics who inspected the $12 million plane.

Jones was discharged Aug. 27, just 19 months short of qualifying for his 20-year pension. Jones's superior officer was also discharged. An aircraft maintenance officer and a gunnery sergeant, also blamed for the crash, have been given "adverse fitness reports," considered to be career-ending reviews.

"On 15 March, I was notified that I was the party responsible for the crash," an angry and bewildered Jones told AL. "I threw in some expletives and said 'How?' When they said I had allowed an outdated pub, I said I'd found it to be outdated in August [1989] but that a gunnery sergeant wanted to use it for training. On 28 November a lance corporal picked up the manual to make repairs to an engine; on Jan. 12 the aircraft crashed."

No one was killed in the crash, and the pilot ejected safely, suffering only minor injuries. Several homes were damaged, but no one on the ground was injured. Military investigators traced the accident to improperly secured fuel lines.

Jones said he had the latest manual on order and that he told the Accident Review Board the copy used to make repairs had numerous pages and its cover missing and was marked "training only...not for aircraft maintenance."

"Lieutenant McMullen, a navy lawyer, told me the lance corporal is not being disciplined," Jones explained. "He asked me what I did to the aircraft. …

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