USAF Instructor, Japanese Student Pilot Killed in T-38 Crash

A USAF instructor pilot and Japan Air Self-Defense Force student pilot were killed when their T-38C crashed Feb. 19 at Dannelly Field near Montgomery, Ala.

The aircrew and aircraft are assigned to the 50th Flying Training Squadron at Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. Col. Seth Graham, commander of the 14th Flying Training Wing, said during a press conference the pilots were on the first leg of a two-leg, overnight training mission when the crash occurred.

The names of the aircrew have not been released. The USAF pilot was 25 years old, and the Japanese pilot was 24 years old, Graham said.

Following the crash, the 14th FTW stopped flying operations. The wing does not typically fly locally during the weekend, but flight operations off station, such as the multiple-leg missions, have been halted, Graham said.

“Please keep the families of these Airmen in your thoughts and prayers,” Graham said in a statement. “Losing teammates is unbelievably painful, but we will get through this together.”

It is the first T-38 training jet crash since the Nov. 21, 2019 crash at Vance Air Force Base, Okla. In that incident, two T-38s collided during a formation landing, killing two pilots on one of the jets. The Air Force halted formation landings following that incident as well.