California Air National Guardsman Killed in Ukraine Su-27 Crash Identified

Lt. Col. Seth “Jethro” Nehring, a California Air National Guardsman assigned to the 194th Fighter Squadron, 144th Fighter Wing, was killed in an Oct. 16 plane crash in Ukraine, USAF announced. Air National Guard photo courtesy of the 144th Fighter Wing.

The California Air National Guardsman who died Tuesday when a Ukrainian air force Su-27 crashed during the Clear Sky 2018 exercise in Ukraine has been identified.

Lt. Col. Seth “Jethro” Nehring, 44, of Fresno, Calif., was assigned to the 194th Fighter Squadron, 144th Fighter Wing. He was deployed to Ukraine in support of the Clear Sky 2018 exercise, and was riding in a single-aircraft familiarization flight with a Ukrainian pilot when the aircraft crashed at about 5 p.m. local time in the Khmelnytski region of Ukraine, according to statements from US Air Forces in Europe and the California governor’s office.

“This is a sad day for the United States and Ukraine,” said Maj. Gen. Clay Garrison, California National Guard commander and Clear Sky 2018 exercise director, in a release. “Our deepest condolences go out to the family, friends and fellow airmen of both the US airman and Ukrainian aviator who were killed in the incident.”

The exercise is a large multinational exercise involving about 950 personnel from nine countries, according to USAFE. It also marks the 25th anniversary of the partnership between the California National Guard and Ukraine.

Both US and Ukrainian governments are investigating the crash.