Pilot Killed In Fighter Plane Crash In Virginia, Mass. Air National Guard Says

The pilot of the Massachusetts Air National Guard F-15C fighter plane stationed in Westfield that crashed in Deerfield Valley, Va., on Tuesday was killed, military officials confirmed Thursday night.

The pilot was identified Friday as Lt. Col. Morris "Moose" Fontenot Jr., a 1996 Air Force Academy graduate with more than 17 years flying F-15s. Fontenot was most recently a resident of Longmeadow, Mass.

Washington Center Air Traffic Control had lost contact with the plane shortly after 9 a.m., officials said, and Massachusetts Air National Guard officials learned that the plane had gone down at 9:30 a.m.

The plane was with the 104th Fighter Wing of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, stationed at the Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield, Mass.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and we are doing all we can to support them during this very difficult time," said Col. James Keefe, Commander, 104th Fighter Wing, said in a statement.

The plane was single-seat aircraft, officials said. The plane was heading to the Naval Air Station in New Orleans to have a radar system upgrade installed. The plane was not caring any munitions when it went down.

The F-15 is a twin-engine fighter designed by McDonnell Douglas, a unit of Boeing Co. It has been in U.S. service since the 1970s.

A Reuters report is included in this story.

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