Pilot identified in Virginia fighter jet crash
DEERFIELD, Va. — The body of a Massachusetts Air National Guard pilot with “numerous deployments to the Middle East” has been identified after his F-15C fighter jet crashed Wednesday in Virginia, an Air National Guard official said Friday.
Lt. Col. Morris “Moose” Fontenot Jr., based out the 104th Fighter Wing in Westfield, Massachusetts, was killed in the crash.
An Air Force Academy graduate, Fontenot earned the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Medal, the Aerial Achievement Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Air Force Achievement Medal and the Combat Readiness Medal, among others, for his service.
He had more than 17 years of F-15 flying experience. He also completed active-duty assignments in Japan, Washington, Idaho, Florida and Alaska. He joined the Massachusetts Air National Guard in February.
His body was found in the mountains near Deerfield Valley, Virginia, on Thursday evening, according to Lt. Anthony Mutti, spokesman for Barnes Air National Guard Base.
The search for the single-seat aircraft was complicated by the remote, wooded location of the crash, near the Virginia-West Virginia border.
Before losing contact, Fontenot had reported an in-flight emergency, according to Col. James Keefe, 104th Fighter Wing commander.