Boston, MA, United States (4E) – The pilot of an F-15C Eagle jet that crashed in mountainous terrain in Virginia on Wednesday has been identified.
Air Force Lt. Col. Morris “Moose” Fontenot Jr. was killed in the crash near Deerfield Valley, Massachusetts National Guard (MNG) officials said Friday. He was a decorated combat veteran and instructor pilot.
Search and rescue teams found Fontenot’s body in the wreckage on Thursday. He was initially thought to have ejected from the plane before it crashed and a search was conducted in the area for two days.
Fontenot, a member of the 104th Fighter Wing based in Westfield, was flying from Massachusetts to New Orleans for a scheduled system upgrade when the jet went down around 9 a.m. Wednesday.
Fontenot reportedly made an emergency call to the Washington Center Air Traffic Control before radio signal was cut. Half an hour later, authorities learned that the jet crashed.
An investigation is ongoing to determine the cause of the crash.
MNG officials describe Fontenot as full-time Wing Inspector General responsible for the implementation of the Air Force Inspection System and an F-15 instructor pilot with more than 2,300 flight hours. He was also an Air Force Academy and Weapons School graduate.
Fontenot has more than 17 years of F-15 flying experience and was a squadron commander at multiple locations before joining the MNG in February.