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Marine F-18s to train at D-M in early December

A detachment of 10 Marine jet fighters will spend early December training at Tucson's Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. The Miramar, Calif.,-based F-18 Hornets will fly into Tucson on Tuesday, and train over Southern Arizona through Dec. 15, officials said.

Some older F-18 models, including several from Miramar, have recently crashed, which led to a temporary grounding in August. A Royal Canadian Air Force pilot died Monday when his CF-18 Hornet crashed in Saskatchewan.

Two Marine F-18s from Marine Corps Air Station Miramar collided on Nov. 9, with one pilot safely ejecting and another landing safely. On Oct. 25, a Marine F/A-18 pilot from Miramar was killed in a crash near Twentynine Palms, Calif.

There have been four other recent F-18 crashes: A Swiss Air Force pilot was killed on Aug. 29; a U.S. Navy pilot safely ejected as an F/A-18C crashed near Fallon, Nev., on Aug. 2; another Marine pilot died in a crash near Twentynine Palms; and a Blue Angels pilot crashed and was killed on June 2 in Tennessee.

The rash of incidents led the Pentagon to issue a short ban on flights by un-deployed F-18s, but that grounding was lifted after a few days in August.

The twin-engine, twin-tailed F-18s are louder than the A-10s and F-16s that are more commonly flown from Davis-Monthan and by the Air National Guard at Tucson International Airport.

"During these visits, the aircrews will follow all D-M arrival and departure processes and adhere to noise abatement procedures," D-M officials said. The jets are from the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.

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A Marine F/A-18 Hornet over Afghanistan, 2003.