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Marines Fire Commander Of Ospreys; Alleged Falsification Of Data Investigated
[FINAL Edition]
The Washington Post - Washington, D.C.
Subjects: Investigations; Firings; Repair & maintenance; Military aircraft; Aircraft accidents & safety
Author: Ricks, Thomas E
Date: Jan 19, 2001
Start Page: A.1
Section: A SECTION

y The V-22 Osprey, a new aircraft that takes off and lands like a helicopter but tilts its rotors forward to fly like an airplane, is at the center of a growing controversy over its checkered flying record and intensive maintenance needs. The fleet was grounded after the crash of a V-22 from [Leberman]'s unit killed four Marines in December. Earlier last year, a V-22 crashed in Arizona, killing 19 Marines.

More than anything, Marines were appalled yesterday by the idea that a commander could order subordinates to lie. The image-proud Marines are taught incessantly in boot camp that they must always be honest with each other because, among other things, false information can get a Marine killed in combat.

The unusual removal of Leberman, who since June 1999 has been the commander of Marine training squadron VMT-204, based at New River, N.C., near Camp Lejeune, stunned Marines from the top to the bottom of the Corps. "The commandant looked gray" after being briefed on the allegations and the contents of the tape, said one senior officer, referring to Gen. James Jones, the chief of the Marines. "It kind of blew him away."

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