Military crew disciplined for M.V. stop

Crew members on this "hurricane hunter" were disciplined for making an unplanned stop on Martha's Vineyard to pick up a vintage mortorcycle. — Rich Saltzberg

An Air Force Reserve crew that made an unplanned stop at Martha’s Vineyard Airport to pick up a vintage motorcycle belonging to a crew member has been disciplined, according to a press release.

The crew with the U.S. Air Force Reserve’s 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, 403rd Wing, Keesler Air Force Base, in Mississippi, received both administrative and aircrew qualification–related discipline for misuse of a WC-130J Super Hercules aircraft.

 “Air Force Reserve crews must put in flight training time each month to keep their qualifications, and off-station training achieves valid training requirements,” Col. Stuart M. Rubio, 403rd Wing commander, said in the release. “This personal stop was an abuse of government assets. We hold our reservists to the highest standards of conduct, and these actions are not tolerated.”

All aircrew members were downgraded on crew qualifications, and administrative actions have been served, the release states. The names of the crew members were not released.

The large aircraft created quite a stir when it stopped at the Island airport on March 25.

“The five-member crew departed Keesler and landed at Quonset Air National Guard Base, Rhode Island, March 24. The following day, the crew, unbeknownst to 403rd leadership, added Martha’s Vineyard Airport to the itinerary to retrieve a crew member’s 1970 BMW R75/5 motorcycle,” the release states. “The crew then continued their mission onto Mather, Calif., to pick up 403rd Wing equipment that was staged there for atmospheric river mission support, which concluded in March after three months of support. Once leadership was notified of the incident March 27, they grounded the crew at Mather, and sent another crew to pick up the aircraft and crew March 28. The motorcycle remains in California.”

According to the release, the planes are known as “Hurricane Hunters” because they fly into tropical storms to gather weather data for the National Hurricane Center. “During the winter months, they fly winter storms on the East Coast and atmospheric rivers, massive bands of moisture that cause huge amounts of rainfall and flooding, on the West Coast to improve forecasts,” the release states. “To accomplish these missions, the unit deploys to various locations to get closer to these weather systems; thus, aircrews go to various locations to train and operate, and these locations are chosen based on training value.”



  1. I hope the MV busybodies who dropped a dime on this crew are delighted that they were punished. Honestly what harm did they do? Next time keep your mouth shut and support our armed forces even if they pull a harmless prank that didn’t endanger anyone.

    • I respectfully disagree. The event is newsworthy. Col. Rubio seems to say that the American taxpayer is harmed and the military’s reputation is tarnished.

  2. When i was in the military, we would stop with missile downstages to go to cabelas….not uncommon

  3. Ashame. Never should have made the paper. When you look at everything going on right now and all the s—-t trimp has pulled , this is so harmless. My gosh , don’t know what this country is coming too

    • The motorcycle could have belonged to John Kerry.
      He is a decorated war Veteran due respect.

    • I completely agree.
      He was filling up his hotel with government employees & security staff charging exorbitant rates and rentals for golf carts.
      This was so minor.
      Guess we know who you support and who you don’t (you traitors)

  4. We are fighting ww3 and a ‘prank’ on the ‘special’ island of m.v. won’t make the news? Am I getting this right? You locals sure stick together in the dumbest defense ever. Try a different approach.

  5. If the military can pick up and deliver a vintage motorcycle so efficiently and seamlessly, could they spare a few moments to deliver some aid to Ukraine so they may defend their nation?

    • As the father of an active duty member of the Air Force based in Europe I can assure you they are working 24/7 to deliver supplies to the Ukraine.

    • As a mom of a Marine, I can guarantee that most of our service men and women would go to Ukraine in a heartbeat. The servicemen on this aircaft aren’t the ones that make those kind of decisions. They’re just the ones who die for those decisions. Let the guy pick up his darn motorcycle. He has promised everything up to, and including, his life for us. I don’t begrudge him or the rest of the crew this stopover. If they had just stopped for lunch and not picked up the bike, no one would have blinked.

  6. Another great comment section that pinpoints the insufferable entitlement that Martha’s Vineyard people display daily. What a lovely place to make friends.

  7. Satisfied a training requirement, picked up a little freight that saved a very under paid reservist a few bucks in shipping under the counter. Is this really an issue to anyone. My only problem is i didn’t get to see a photo of the bike. I’d guess there is a better story with the BMW. I’m sure what happened is very common. Proud of our Military.

  8. ok– some numbers might be useful here.
    A wc-130 Hercules weighs about the same as a boeing 737. ( about 155,000 pounds)
    According to Boeing, a 737 uses about 5235 pounds of fuel to take off and climb to cruising altitude. That’s about 750 gallons of fuel.

    I cannot find numbers about how much fuel is used to land. But it’s certainly something.
    The Boeing 737 is also likely more fuel efficient than the W-C 130 .
    So I think it’s pretty safe to say that this unauthorized diversion used a minimum of 1,000 gallons of fuel.

    I once heard that if there is an increased demand for something–anything, the price will increase. I don’t know if that’s true– perhaps someone with a PHD in economics could confirm that. So when all you people complaining that “Brandon” is responsible for the high cost of fuel, inflation and mythological gas shortages, think about all the “busybodies” and “rats” that are keeping the military honest.
    I don’t think they will do that again.
    We all paid for that thousand gallons of wasted fuel that put nearly a ton of carbon into the atmosphere.
    That makes it our business.
    It certainly makes it my business.

    • They were on a training mission. Landing and taking off is the most crucial aspect of that training. So if the taxpayers paid for some additional training to help keep the crew safe I’m good with that.

      • I’ll do you one better. I say they were on a “rescue mission”. So what if it was a motorcycle and not people. Same concept. They should all get medals for bravery in action. “Mission accomplished.”

      • John– Nothing in that “abuse of government assets” had anything to do with training.
        For all of you who think you are supporting the military by condoning unauthorized actions using government equipment, you are flat out wrong.
        I was in the military. There is a chain of command and a procedure for everything. You follow orders whenever you have military equipment at your disposal.
        They were ordered to take that aircraft to California. Period.
        They disobeyed a direct order and basically stole the aircraft to run a personal errand.
        They got caught– they should be court marshalled. Their commander called it “abuse”. That says it all.
        Military personnel are trained to follow orders, which makes for an efficient and disciplined military.
        We need only to look at the ineffectiveness of the Russian military due to lack of discipline, corruption and military personnel making their own decisions to understand why the United States has such a strong military.
        Active military personnel stealing an aircraft should never be tolerated, even if you like motorcycles and could care less about the extreme waste of fuel.

      • John would you have any problem if it was John Kerry’s motorcycle?
        A decorated war Veteran and former Secretary of State.

  9. They went off on a lark and broke a rule of military discipline, so they should be accountable for their actions. The plane is government property, bought with our tax dollars, and shouldn’t be used as a delivery service for private property.

    • Molly- You highlight the problem with disinformation.
      When this story first “aired” someone speculated it had something to do with John Kerry–
      That person has an obvious political bias and does not care at all about facts.
      That comment was total B.S.
      But, some apparently are biased and gullible enough to think this had something to do with him.

    • All who served honorably in Vietnam are heroes.

      “During John Kerry’s candidacy in the 2004 U.S. presidential campaign, a political issue that gained widespread public attention was Kerry’s Vietnam War record. In television advertisements and a book called Unfit for Command, co-authored by John O’Neill and Jerome Corsi, the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (SBVT), a 527 group later known as the Swift Vets and POWs for Truth, questioned details of his military service record and circumstances relating to the awarding of his combat medals. Their campaign against Kerry’s presidential bid received widespread publicity,[1] but was later discredited and gave rise to the neologism “swiftboating”, to describe an unfair or untrue political attack.[2][3] Defenders of Kerry’s service record, including former crewmates, stated that allegations made by SBVT were false.[4][5][6]”

      Molly, where did you serve?
      Were you in combat?
      Were you wounded?
      Did you get any medals?
      Did you protest the war?
      Protest ended the That Awful Asian War.
      The National Guard at Kent State.

      Do you think John McCain was a war hero?
      Trump thinks he was a coward.
      Do you?

  10. Keller shows punctilious detail for carbon emissions on a training flyby but agonizes not a whit when Kerry does it.

    • Andy– this was not a training flyby.
      People fly in private jets all the time– I am against it, and think all privates should be banned. Including John Kerry’s, George Soros’s, Bill Gates’s donald trump’s and Tom Brady’s .
      I am one of those people who pay taxes. I fund the military– I care when they waste my money.

    • People with a whit of intelligence agonize over carbon emissions.
      Andy, do you think more or less carbon emissions are better?

      • Al, people with a whit of intelligence think things through and dont agonize over anything. I would love to see fewer emissions but at what cost?

  11. So if this didn’t occur, i’d be paying less at the pump and my income taxes will go down? Hmm. Can I still see a picture of the bike?

  12. The cost at the pump is a function of demand.
    C-130s demand a lot of fuel.
    The extra fuel it cost to pick the bike up is probably more than you use in year, maybe ten.

  13. Well said, Don Keller! I’m not sure how anyone thinks it was acceptable for this to have happened. “Hey, can we swing this MILITARY PLANE by the MV airport to pick up my bike?” It’s not like asking a buddy to stop by the store to grab some milk on the way home! It’s a military plane!
    It’s called accountability and it is sorely lacking in today’s world.

  14. Just a little FYI— I was stationed for a short time at a small floating Naval river Station in Viet-Nam where John Kerry also served. This place was blown off the map one night killing 17 good people. Anyone who served in VN deserve hero status. John was a well respected Boat Driver and well liked.

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