WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - The pilot of the F-15 jet that crashed earlier this week in the mountains of Virginia has now been identified as Lt. Col. Morris “Moose” Fontenot Jr.
Lt. Col. Fontenot 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.
He was a 1996 Air Force Academy Graduate with more than 17 years of F-15 flying experience. He served as a squadron commander at multiple locationsand had numerous deployments to the Middle East.
Lt. Col. Fontenot joined the Massachusetts Air National Guard in February 2014. He was a decorated combat veteran.
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The investigation into what caused the crash of the single-seat jet is ongoing and will take several weeks, the jet crashed in the mountains of western Virginia on Wednesday morning. Investigators said the jet hit the ground at a high rate of speed leaving a deep crater and a large debris field in a heavily wooded area next to a mountain in the George Washington National Forest.
“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.
Major Matthew Mutti added “His commitment to service is how his family wants him to be remembered by.” He said he was one of the most honorable men he has ever served along side and he’s the kind of guy who bled the red, white, and blue.
The picture of Lt. Col. Fontenot Jr. was when he was serving “in the desert.” “Moose” flew the flag in the picture in his cockpit while serving overseas as a token for his loved ones, which is a military tradition.
Once recovery operation concludes, Fontenot’s body will go to the base in Delaware, called Fort Mortuary. From there he will have a dignified transfer to wherever his family decides.