WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Many Westfield residents are still struggling with the death of fighter pilot Morris “Moose” Fontenot whose F-15 crashed in Virginia late last month.
Starting Friday night, Westfield youth football players will all wear reminders of Lt. Col. Fontenot on their helmets.
On Wednesday, August 27th, Lt. Col. Fontenot, Jr. took off from Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield. He was on his way to Louisiana, but his F-15 fighter jet crashed in Virginia. Lt. Col. Fontenot did not survive.
John Regnier of Westfield said, “I thought it was a national crash. When I saw it closer, it was from the hometown. That brought it real close to the heart.”
Friday night, the Westfield Youth Football League, their parents and 104th Fighter Wing members held a ceremony to remember and honor the decorated combat veteran. They placed Lt. Col. Fontenot’s name on each and every player’s helmet.
Marty Tyler of Westfield said, “The pilot was willing to give up his life for our freedom, so should mean a lot for him to be able to wear the pilot’s insigna to represent him for his sacrifice.”
Pete Green, the 104th Fighter Wing Maintenance Group Commander, said, “This is just one more extension that we feel from the community, reaching out to us now in a time of grief for us at this stage, to show us that they care about us. They are listening to us and that we are part of their community.”
The crash investigation is still going on. Lt. Col. Fontenot will be laid to rest next month at the Air Force Academy in Colorado.