Lakenheath Airmen Escaped Serious Injury in NATO Training Mishap

Eight airmen from RAF Lakenheath suffered minor injuries when a Greek F-16 crashed on Monday during NATO training at Los Llanos Air Base in southeastern Spain. Their injuries included scrapes, burns, and smoke inhalation, reported Stars and Stripes. The Greek F-16 slammed into a group of parked French and Italian combat aircraft and personnel shortly after takeoff, claiming the lives of eight French service members and the two-member Greek F-16 aircrew. Another 21 French and Italian personnel were injured, some seriously; as of Tuesday morning, one of the French servicemen had succumbed to his injuries, bringing the number of dead to 11, reported Voice of America. The injured US airmen were part of a contingent of some 80 personnel from Lakenheath’s 492nd Fighter Squadron that deployed to Los Llanos with F-15Es for the training, which was held under NATO’s Tactical Leadership Program that builds tactical air capabilities between NATO partners. The accident showed the “significant cost and personal sacrifice made every day by allies and partners alike” in pursuit of better capabilities to assure and deter, said Gen. Frank Gorenc, commander of US Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa, in a statement offering his condolences.