Safety concern leads to investigation at NAS Whiting Field

Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) is conducting an ongoing investigation at NAS Whiting Field in Milton, commencing this week, according to Navy public affairs officer Lt. Elizabeth Feaster.

The investigation coincides with a maintenance inspection of all TH-57 Sea Ranger helicopters belonging to Training Air Wing FIVE, a unit that conducts advanced flight training to several hundred aviation students per year. The inspection was prompted by a safety concern, said Lt. Feaster. The public affairs office did not elaborate on the nature of the concern.

The helicopter fleet was recalled to base June 28, according to the installation public affairs office. The recall means that all flight operations involving TH-57 helicopters will be suspended until the inspection is complete. The unit plans to wrap up the inspection by July 5, Lt. Feaster said.

NCIS is a Virginia-based federal law enforcement agency charged with investigating felony offenses affecting the Navy and Marine Corps. Although the agency does not typically address maintenance issues, NCIS has investigative responsibility for any crimes committed under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) that may result in confinement of one year or more, according to its website.

When asked for more information, NCIS public affairs officer Ed Buice replied, “NCIS does not discuss the details of ongoing investigations.”

This is a developing story.

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