Marines Issue Concerning 'Stand Down' Order for All Aviation Units in Wake of F-35 Going Missing

(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

There are a lot of questions about the F-35 that went missing mid-flight in South Carolina. 

As we reported, the pilot ejected from the jet because there was some "mishap" that has not as yet been defined. The plane was on auto-pilot, but its transponder was reportedly not working. So they have been unable to find where the plane went after the pilot ejected, even though the F-35 was accompanied by another plane. That second plane made it back to the base safely. The pilot who ejected was in stable condition at the hospital. 

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That's raising all kinds of questions about where the jet could have gone, and Joint Base Charleston has even appealed to the public for help in locating the aircraft, even putting out a number to call if you have information. They don't even know if it's crashed or if it's still in flight at this point. Talk about stealth; it's so "stealthy" they can't even find it. 

Now, the Marine Corps acting commandant, Eric Smith, has issued a two-day stand-down order for all aviation units inside and outside the United States. 

Here's more on the stand-down order.

A Marine Corps spokesperson said in a statement on Sunday that the F-35's pilot "safely ejected from the aircraft. We are currently still gathering more information and assessing the situation. The mishap will be under investigation."

No units are allowed to fly until they have a two-day discussion about safety measures and procedures, the commandant said in a service-wide email on Monday. While the Marine Corps commandant said he has full confidence in the aviation units, he said he felt this was the "right and prudent" thing to do given both this incident and another recent incident in Australia.

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Smith said this was following three Class A aviation mishaps in the last six weeks. 

That raises even more questions about what went on with the F-35 out of Joint Base Charleston. Do they think other planes could go missing? Was there some problem with the jet that they think might exist in other aircraft? Or are they concerned about adherence to safety standards? 

Whatever happened, it sounds like they're concerned it could happen again, and they're trying to run through things to make sure it doesn't.  

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