UPDATED: Nove 21, 2017 10 PM CT:
Laughlin Air Force Base cancelled all flying through the Thanksgiving holiday after yesterday’s crash that killed one pilot and injured another. The name of the deceased has not been released yet pending next of kin notifications. Meanwhile, Laughlin AFB’s Wing Commander also released a heartfelt statement this evening about yesterday’s crash. See below:
Words can’t express the true feeling that the members of Team XL feel as we grieve through the loss of one of our teammates. Due to our next of kin notification policies, we are unable to release the name of our fallen Airman at this time, but I can assure you that our number one priority is making sure that our service members and loved ones are taken care of and provided the proper services to get through this difficult time. After extensive reflection, we decided to suspend flying for today and tomorrow, leading into a previously-scheduled holiday break.
The Air Force is a close-knit family, and the loss of one of our own affects all of us. Please take a moment to look to your left and right, and if your teammates are struggling, assist in any way you can. You have resources–our chaplains and mental health professionals stand at the ready to support all of Team XL in this time of sadness.
Our thoughts and prayers are also with the family and friends of our injured pilot who was transported to Val Verde Regional Medical Center. Every day, our pilots take a risk as they step into the cockpit; even though we do not know what each day will bring, we are consistently reminded of the sacrifices that they make to ensure the safety of this great nation and to train the next generation of flying Airmen.
The Air Force is working alongside local authorities on the scene. We are committed to conducting a thorough investigation of the events.
I express my deepest condolences to the family of our fallen pilot from yesterday’s events. Here at Laughlin, we share in the sorrow felt by loved ones, but we must not forget the valuable contribution to our country and the impact on our organization.
I guarantee you we are doing everything we can to investigate what happened and ways to prevent future incidents.
– Colonel Charlie Velino
47th Flying Training Wing, commander
UPDATED: Nov 20, 2017 8:34 PM CT:
Laughlin AFB released an updated statement. One pilot is deceased and another one is injured.
One pilot is dead, and one was transferred to Val Verde Regional Medical Center when an Air Force T-38 Talon assigned here at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, crashed at around 4 p.m. today approximately 14 miles northwest of the base near Spur 454 and U.S. 90 in Del Rio, Texas.
Laughlin and local emergency responders are on scene.
The names of the pilots are being withheld for next of kin notification.
A board of officers will convene to investigate the incident.
“Our biggest priority at this time is caring for the family and friends of our Airmen,” said Col. Michelle Pryor, 47th Flying Training Wing vice commander. “We are a close knit family, and when a tragedy like this occurs every member of the U.S. Armed Forces feels it. Our people take top priority, and we are committed to ensuring their safety and security.”
A T-38C aircraft crashed today near Del Rio, Texas. The aircraft was assigned to Laughlin Air Force Base in Del Rio, Texas. There is no word yet on the condition of the pilot or pilots.
Laughlin AFB released the following on Facebook.
The T-38 is a high performance jet aircraft primarily used to train pilots at Undergraduate Pilot Training. Student pilots are typically ‘tracked’ or are selected to fly the T-38 after a six month stint of flying the T-6 primary trainer. T-38 student pilots then usually receive fighter and bomber assignments after graduation. The aircraft first flew in 1959. The jet has undergone extensive avionics modifications over the past decade and is now known as the T-38C. The Air Force is evaluating T-38 replacements under the T-X program.
This is a breaking news story. We will update as we receive more information.