UPDATED 10/3/2017: This is the latest information provided by the Navy:
The Navy has released the identity of the pilots killed when their T-45C aircraft crashed in Tellico Plains, Tennessee, Oct. 1.
Lt. Patrick L. Ruth, 31, of Metairie, Louisiana, and Lt. j.g. Wallace E. Burch, 25, of Horn Lake, Mississippi, died when their aircraft went down in the Cherokee National Forest in eastern Tennessee. Both pilots were assigned to the “Eagles” of Training Squadron (VT) 7 based at Naval Air Station Meridian, Mississippi.
Ruth had been in the Navy for nine years and was a member of VT-7 since 2015. Burch had been in the Navy for nearly three years and was a member of VT-7 since 2016.
An investigation is underway to determine the cause of the mishap.
Additional information about Ruth and Burch:
Lieutenant Patrick L Ruth, who was 31 years old and a nine year veteran, was from Metairie in Louisiana. He began his Navy career in the Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps at Tulane University. He was commissioned in May 2008 and went through extensive flight training before joining Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron ONE TWO SIX (VAW-126) Seahawks out of Norfolk in Virginia during 2012. Ruth spent three years with VAW-126 before being assigned as an instructor with VT-7 in April of 2015. Ruth earned two Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medals during his career.
Lieutenant Junior Grade Wallace E Burch, who was 25 years old and a three year veteran, was from Horn Lake in Mississippi. He attended Officer Candidate School at Newport in Rhode Island during 2014. He was commissioned in January of 2015. Burch reported to VT-7 as a student in the advanced jet training syllabus in 2016.
Previous Information Below-
MERIDIAN, Miss. (NNS) — At approximately 9:40 a.m. Oct. 2, Training Air Wing ONE, based at Naval air Station (NAS) Meridian, Miss., confirmed the T-45 belonging to Training Squadron SEVEN (VT-7) that went missing yesterday afternoon has crashed in East Tennessee.
Two pilots were aboard the aircraft, an instructor and a student. The pilots did not survive the incident. Names of the pilots are being withheld until 24 hours after next of kin notification.
An investigation will commence to determine the cause of the mishap.
Here is a link to Knoxville news coverage of the crash: http://www.knoxnews.com/story/news/local/2017/10/01/monroe-sheriff-plane-crash-reported-tellico-plains/721602001/
On Sunday October 1st 2017, Naval Air Station (NAS) Meridian public affairs personnel reported a McDonnell Douglas (Boeing) T-45C Goshawk jet trainer assigned to0 Training Squadron SEVEN (VT-7) Eagles was missing. The jet, carrying a student pilot and an instructor pilot, was attached to Training Air Wing ONE (TW-1) and based at NAS Meridian in Mississippi. Later on the same day at 1800 local time TW-1 was made aware of a plane crash reported in Tennessee’s Cherokee National Forest located in the far northeastern corner of the state.
TW-1 and the Chief of Naval Air Training (CNATRA) have now confirmed the loss of the aircraft and the deaths of both the student pilot and instructor aboard the jet. TW-1 is the parent command for two Naval Training Squadrons, Training Squadron SEVEN (VT-7) Eagles and Training Squadron NINE (VT-9) Tigers. Both squadrons instruct Navy and Marine Corps students in the Advanced training syllabus.