Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Military

National Guard ID's Pilot Killed In F-15 Jet Crash

Lt. Col. Morris 'Moose' Fontenot Jr.
U.S. Air Force
Lt. Col. Morris 'Moose' Fontenot Jr.

After days of searching for the missing pilot of a downed F-15C jet in the hopes he had safely ejected, rescue crews came to the realization Thursday that the pilot was actually killed in the crash.

Col. James Keefe, 104th Fighter Wing Commander, announced Friday:

"On behalf of the family of our fallen pilot and with a sense of profound sadness, I am sad to share that Lt. Col. Morris 'Moose' Fontenot Jr., was killed tragically in Wednesday's F-15 crash. We all continue to keep the Fontenot family in our thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time."

Fontenot served as the full-time Wing Inspector General with the 104th Fighter Wing of the Massachusetts National Guard.

Commander of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, Brig. Gen. Robert Brooks, held a news conference near the Virginia crash site on Thursday. Brooks told reporters the crash debris indicated the pilot remained in the jet upon impact:

"We just found evidence that the ejection seat was with the aircraft."

As Home Post reported earlier this week, Fontenot's F-15C fighter jet crashed Wednesday morning into George Washington and Jefferson National Forest, roughly 135 miles northwest of Richmond, Va.

According to a National Guard news release, the F-15C Eagle was heading to Naval Air Station New Orleans for a radar system upgrade:

The flight was not related to the 104th Fighter Wing’s homeland defense mission, and there were no munitions on the aircraft during this flight...

The pilot was flying a solo mission when he reported an in-flight emergency prior to the loss of radio contact with Washington Center.
The cause of the crash is under investigation.