The name of a military pilot who was killed over the weekend in a crash about 140 miles east of Fallon could be released by his command as early as Tuesday, said a Navy spokesperson.
Lt. Reagan Lauritzen, assistant public affairs officer with the Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet in San Diego, said the pilot, who was training at Naval Strike and Warfare Center (Naval Air Station Fallon), died Saturday when his jet crashed on a training flight over the rugged Nevada terrain. A debris field was found within the training area.
Because search crews could not reach the aircraft until Sunday, Lauritzen said the military procedure to notify the next of kin was implemented later that day. The military has notified the family, but she said the pilot’s command will release additional information.
According to Lauritzen, the pilot was flying a U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18C, but it was on loan to the NSAWC for use as a training aircraft. The jet had been conducting a training flight on the U.S. Navy Range Training Complex when it reportedly crashed at 3 p.m.
“Initial reports from the scene indicate the aircraft is a total loss,” Lauritzen added.
Search crews discovered the F/A-18c near the Monitor Mountain Range in Lander County, an area noted for its beauty but also known for its majestic jagged mountain peaks that rise above the valley floor. The Navy also received assistance from the Lander County Search and Rescue.
“It took Navy personnel several hours to reach the crash site as it was located in remote, rugged, mountainous terrain,” she said. “A snow storm overnight in the area also hindered the effort.”
Additionally, she said there were no reports of any other injuries or damage as a result of the crash, and the jet was not carrying any weapons or munitions.
Lauritzen said the cause of the crash is under investigation.
The FRTC, which consists of four Bravo training areas throughout rural Churchill County, conducts Carrier Air Wing training, advanced instructor training, fleet replacement squadron training, integrated air-to-air and air-to-ground unit level training, joint exercises and tactics development.
The Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center is the center of excellence for naval aviation training and tactics development. It provides service to aircrews, squadrons and air wings throughout the Navy through flight training, academic instructional classes, and direct operational and intelligence