San Diego Union-Tribune

A-6

21-Feb-2001 Wednesday 

General up for promotion misled press on Osprey 

OTTO KREISHER 
COPLEY NEWS SERVICE 

WASHINGTON -- Marine Brig. Gen. James A. Amos, who has attracted criticism for providing misleading data on the aircraft readiness of the MV-22 Osprey training squadron, has been nominated for promotion to major general, the
Pentagon announced yesterday.

Amos, the deputy director of Marine Corps aviation programs, told Pentagon reporters on Nov. 30 that the tilt-rotor aircraft had a high maintenance availability, even though he had warned his superior nine days earlier that
the Ospreys' readiness was much lower.

That discrepancy became more controversial when it was revealed that the commanding officer of the Osprey training squadron had told his Marines to lie about the aircraft maintenance status to protect the MV-22 program.

The Pentagon's inspector general is investigating the alleged falsification of maintenance data. That investigation is attempting to determine if anyone senior to the training squadron commander, Lt. Col. Odin "Fred"
Leberman, was aware of the false records.

In a response to an evaluation report that found the Osprey difficult to maintain, Amos told Pentagon reporters that the training squadron's aircraft had an average daily availability of 73.2 percent in the first two weeks of November. But CBS television reported later that Amos had told his boss, Lt. Gen. Fred McCorkle, in a Nov. 21 e-mail that the squadron's readiness was 26.7 percent.

Amos' promotion will have to be approved by the Senate, which is unlikely to act before the investigation into the altered records is completed.