10 April 2012

Team Coming Together

As many of you are certainly aware by now, one of our F/A-18D Hornets suffered a catastrophic mechanical malfunction shortly after takeoff last Friday afternoon and crashed into the Mayfair Mews apartment complex in Virginia Beach, Va. Both pilots – a fleet replacement pilot in training and an experienced instructor – safely ejected seconds before the crash.

While we are very fortunate that no one was killed or seriously wounded, dozens of residents have been displaced and lost many, if not all, of their personal belongings. These residents have suffered a great deal through no fault of their own, and we are doing everything in our power to ensure they receive the care and attention they need recover from this mishap. Navy representatives have been on site and meeting with Mayfair Mews residents every day since the crash to ensure the residents have the means to obtain essential needs (shelter, clothing, food, etc) and file for appropriate compensation.

We are currently conducting a full investigation into the mishap and will gather all the facts to determine exactly what occurred and why. As more information is developed and made available I’ll certainly post it here.

I want to take a moment now to recognize the heroic efforts of the Virginia Beach community, from the First Responders who quickly secured the area and fought the fire, to the Virginia Beach citizens who happened to be in the area at the moment of the crash and instinctively sprang into action.

These citizens showed us the true meaning of courage and citizenship, as they rushed into burning buildings to rescue their fellow residents, moved our downed aircrew to safety, and pulled together as a team to reposition hoses and help the firefighters and first responders battle the blazes that had engulfed several of the buildings. Their extraordinary courage showed in a moment when the stakes couldn’t have been higher.

I have talked with Mayor Sessoms several times since the crash on Friday to express my deep appreciation to the city and citizens of Virginia Beach. I simply can’t thank you all enough for what you did for our Navy and the community – you showed us all what “citizenship” truly means. Thank you for your friendship and strong support to our Navy.
All the best, JCHjr

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