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UPDATE: F-15C pilot’s identity released following crash

Posted at 10:00 AM, Aug 27, 2014
and last updated 2014-08-29 12:37:48-04

Officials have now identified the pilot who was killed in the August 27 crash of an F-15C Eagle.

The pilot has been identified as Lt. Col. Morris "Moose" Fontenot Jr.

Lt. Col. Morris

Lt. Col. Morris "Moose" Fontenot Jr. Photo credit: Virginia State Police

Lt. Col. Morris Fontenot Jr. served with the 104th Fighter Wing as the full-time Wing Inspector General, responsible for the implementation of the Air Force Inspection System and as an F-15 instructor pilot with more than 2,300 flight hours, officials tell NewsChannel 3.

"On behalf of the family of our fallen pilot and with a sense of profound sadness, I am sad to share that Lt. Col. Morris "Moose" Fontenot Jr., was killed tragically in Wednesday's F-15 crash," said Col. James Keefe, 104th Fighter Wing Commander. "We all continue to keep the Fontenot family in our thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time," added Keefe.

The search for the  missing Air National Guard pilot expanded over the Washington National Forest near Deerfield Valley, Virginia on Wednesday, August 27, 2014.

Additional Air Force resources were on the scene after an F-15C Eagle assigned to the 104th Fighter Wing in Westfield, Massachusetts crashed at approximately 9:05 a.m. Wednesday; radio contact with the pilot was lost about 5 minutes earlier.

The search efforts included a specially equipped HC-130 aircraft assigned to Moody Air Force Base with specialized equipment designed for low-light/night-time search and rescue operations.  The HC-130 had been conducting air operation since 3:00 a.m.  As many as seven helicopters were conducting aerial night searches.

Throughout the day Wednesday, at least 100 state police, sheriff's deputies and fire and rescue personnel were on scene. The ground search slowed overnight due to the dangerous terrain around the crash site.

Approximately 10 search-and-rescue teams were on the ground searching along logging roads, fire trails and forest roads. The terrain is too treacherous for off-road ground searches in the dark, according to Corinne Geller, Virginia State Police Public Relations Manager.

The investigation into the crash is ongoing.