The Marine Corps Times is reporting that the helicopter squadron that saw 12 men killed when two aircraft went down off the coast of Oahu was apparently under scrutiny by top brass because of issues involving its commanding officer.

The newspaper says Lt. Col. Edward Pavelka was relieved of command on Jan. 11, just three days before the two helicopters went down in what appeared to be a fiery collision. The bodies of the 12 men have not been recovered and they were declared dead last week.

A memorial service for the 12 Marines lost when their helicopters went down off the coast of Oahu was held last Friday.

A memorial service for the 12 Marines lost when their helicopters went down off the coast of Oahu was held last Friday.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Higher-ups believed Pavelka “failed to keep the unit operating at acceptable standards,” the Marine Corps Times reported.

A spokeswoman for the Marines told the reporters that the colonel “did not commit misconduct.”

A Marine familiar with the situation told the paper that the unit had not been getting enough flying time.

The nighttime training mission that ended in tragedy Jan. 14 included instructor pilots paired with student pilots, and instructor crew chiefs paired with student crew chiefs, the paper said.

Read the Marine Times’ detailed account here.

Civil Beat photographer Cory Lum covered the memorial service. Here are some of his photos.

Kaneohe Marines 12 killed helicopter accident memorial3

Marines stand listening to personal reflections given by colleagues during memorial services held at Marine Corps Base Hawaii,  Kaneohe.

Marines stand listening to personal reflections given by colleagues during memorial services held at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

 

 

Family and friends of Lance Corporal Ty L. Hart from Aumsville, Oregon were among those attending memorial services held at Marine Corps Base Hawaii.  Hart  and 11 other marines died in a helicopter accident off Haleiwa, Oahu.

Family and friends of Lance Corporal Ty L. Hart from Aumsville, Oregon were among those attending memorial services held at Marine Corps Base Hawaii. Hart and 11 other marines died in a helicopter accident off Haleiwa, Oahu.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

 

Friends and family gather after memorial services held at Marine Corps Base Hawaii for the crews of Pegasus 31 and Pegasus 32 CH-53E helicopters that crashed killing 12.

Friends and family gather after memorial services held at Marine Corps Base Hawaii for the crews of Pegasus 31 and Pegasus 32 CH-53E helicopters that crashed killing 12.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

 

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