F-16 Pilot Killed in Crash

An F-16 pilot was killed on Sunday in a crash in the Middle East, announced US Central Command on Monday. The crash did not occur in Iraq or Syria, states CENTCOM’s Dec. 1 release. CENTCOM and Air Forces Central Command officials said the mishap occurred as the pilot was attempting to return to the aircraft’s undisclosed operating location in the region shortly after takeoff. The pilot had taken off on a combat mission in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, the US-led air campaign against ISIS terrorist forces in Iraq and Syria. However, “combat activity over Iraq or Syria” did not cause the mishap, Air Forces Central Command spokesman Lt. Col. Tadd Sholtis told Air Force Magazine. The incident occurred at approximately 11 p.m. US East Coast time. As of late Monday, the US military has not released the pilot’s name, pending notification of kin. The cause of the incident is under investigation. The crash was the Air Force’s first announced loss of a combat aircraft supporting OIR since the beginning of the operation in September, according to the officials. Sholtis said AFCENT was withholding the exact location of the crash due to “host-nation sensitivities.” Air Force aircraft support OIR from several bases in the Middle East, including al Udeid AB, Qatar, and other locations in the Arabian Gulf.