Friday, October 24, 2014
Loading...





Pilot in F-15 crash was decorated combat veteran

Pilot killed in F-15 jet crash in Virginia was experienced, decorated combat veteran

Posted on Aug. 28, 2014 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on Aug. 28, 2014 at 6:39 a.m.

BOSTON (AP) — The pilot killed in the crash of an F-15 jet this week in the remote Virginia mountains was a decorated combat veteran with 17 years of experience flying the planes, military officials in Massachusetts said Friday.

The pilot, Lt. Col. Morris “Moose” Fontenot Jr., joined the Massachusetts Air National Guard in February and had been serving with the 104th Fighter Wing as the inspector general and an F-15 instructor pilot.

Col. James Keefe, commander of the Westfield-based fighter wing, said the death was announced “with a sense of profound sadness.”

Fontenot was flying the single-seat plane to New Orleans for a radar system upgrade when he crashed Wednesday morning in western Virginia. Officials say he reported an in-flight emergency before losing radio contact. The investigation into the cause of the crash is expected to take several weeks.

Fontenot, 41, of Longmeadow, Massachusetts, was a 1996 Air Force Academy graduate. His active-duty career included deployments to the Middle East, and he earned honors including the Meritorious Service Medal. He had also served as a squadron commander in several locations and had assignments in Washington, D.C., Japan, Idaho, Florida and Alaska.

In Virginia, more than 100 local, state and federal officials as well as volunteers were involved in the search for the pilot before officials announced Thursday night they had found evidence he did not survive. Brig. Gen. Robert Brooks, Commander of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, said at a news conference in Deerfield, Virginia, that rescuers found evidence at the crash site that the pilot did not eject.

Brooks would not comment on whether the pilot’s remains had been found, saying only, “We bring every airman home.”

The jet crash shook residents but caused no injuries on the ground. Investigators said the jet hit the ground at high speed, leaving a deep crater and a large debris field in a heavily wooded area adjacent to a mountain in the George Washington National Forest.

There were no munitions aboard at the time of the crash, Keefe said. The plane was flying at about 30,000 to 40,000 feet when the pilot reported the emergency, he said.

F-15s are maneuverable tactical fighters that can reach speeds as high as 1,875 mph, according to the Air Force website. The F-15C Eagle entered the Air Force inventory in 1979 and costs nearly $30 million, the website says. The Air Force has nearly 250 F-15s.

Several F-15s have crashed over the past few years in various states. In at least one, the pilot ejected safely. Causes included failure of a support structure for the jet and pilot error.

Associated Press writers Alan Suderman in Deerfield, Virginia; Michael Felberbaum in Richmond, Virginia; Brock Vergakis in Norfolk, Virginia; contributed to this report.


Recommended for You


Loading...
Loading...
Loading...
 In this photo taken on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014, lifelong Mississippi resident Logenvia Morris poses at her home in  Jackson, Miss., next to her prize possession, the first Mississippi game jersey her son Aaron Morris wore for the football team. Morris, who goes to every football game to cheer for her son, said the offensive lineman had to overcome his grandfather’s deep skepticism about whether black students are truly welcome at the university. The warm welcome extended to both mother and son during a recruiting visit by students and players are among the main reasons the Morris family were quick to join the Ole Miss family. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Posted 47 minutes ago
 FILE - In this Oct. 6, 2014, file photo, Army soldiers search Iraqis amid tight security during Eid al-Adha celebrations in Baghdad, Iraq. Iraq’s fractured army has begun to regroup and stage modest, localized attacks on the Islamic State militants who routed them last spring and summer, but they are unlikely to be ready to launch a major counteroffensive for many months, senior U.S. military officials said Thursday. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim, File)

Posted 58 minutes ago
 In this Oct. 15, 2014, photo, Daniel DeLorenzi, director of security and safety services at MetLife Stadium, stands near monitors for security cameras in the command center at the stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

Posted 1 hour ago
Back to top ^