Rep. Mac Thornberry said Thursday a string of military mishaps this year has killed roughly the same number of troops as victims in the Las Vegas shooting on Sunday.
Thornberry, who is the House Armed Services chairman, made the comparison to 58 killed and about 500 injured by a lone gunman on the Las Vegas Strip while speaking at the Heritage Foundation on the need to bolster the military after years of high operations and capped spending.
He specifically cited two Navy ship collisions in June and August that killed 17 sailors, as well as a Marine Corps C-130 crash in July that killed 16 troops. There have been numerous other training and operational deaths and injuries, the House Armed Services Committee said Thursday that the total number of troops killed in mishaps this year was 57.
"If you add it all up, we have lost roughly the same number of people in training accidents this year as got shot in Las Vegas this week," Thornberry said during a keynote address at the think tank.
The chairman and his committee crafted a $696 billion 2018 defense budget that seeks to repair what Thornberry and other hawks such as Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., have called a readiness crisis.
Both Thornberry and McCain have pointed to individual incidents, including a T-45 Goshawk training crash in Tennessee on Sunday that killed two, as growing proof of a military that is stretched too thin and underfunded.
"Just this week we've lost another training airplane, and if you go back and look at the accidents … not all those accidents have got that much attention," Thornberry said.