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Fighter Pilot Killed in Jet Crash an Experienced Airman, Military Says

Lt. Col. Morris Fontenot Jr. had more than 17 years flying F-15 fighter jets. He was killed when his F-15C Eagle crashed in Virginia Wednesday.

The military has identified the pilot killed when his F-15C Eagle fighter jet crashed in a mountainous region of Virginia this week as an experienced airman with 17 years flight experience.

Lt. Col. Morris Fontenot Jr. did not eject from the stricken jet after the plane suffered some sort of problem as it flew from the 104th Fighter Wing at Barnes Air National Guard Base to New Orleans Wednesday morning, and was killed when it crashed in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, the commander of the 104th said.

"We all continue to keep the Fontenot family in our thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time," Col. James Keefe, commander of the 104th Fighter Wing, said in a statement Friday. Fontenot was a decorated combat veteran and former squadron commander who served in several deployments to the Middle East, and he had more than 17 years experience flying F-15 fighter jets, the military said.

Fontenot reported an emergency just before the plane went down, the military said, but cause of the crash has not yet been determined.


— Phil Helsel