COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (WWLP) – Nearly 50 members of the 104th Air Wing will say their final goodbye this week to their friend, Lieutenant Colonel Morris “Moose” Fontenot Jr.
22News Reporter Kait Walsh traveled to Colorado Springs, where the funeral will be held on Friday.
On the morning of Wednesday, August 27th, members of the 104th Fighter Wing lost a hero. A pilot took off from Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield headed to New Orleans Naval Air Station for a system upgrade to his F-15C Eagle Fighter Jet.
Just after 9:00 a.m., he radioed in an onboard mechanical problem, contact was lost, and black smoke was seen billowing from a wooded part of western Virginia.
A search and rescue team, including more than a dozen members of the 104th, spent hours trying to reach the remote crash site. 32 hours after the crash was reported, the pilot’s body was found.
The pilot was identified as Lieutenant Colonel Morris Fontenot, Junior. His friends and family called him Moose.
Moose had more than 17 years of experience flying F-15s and served as a squadron commander at many air force bases. Investigators still aren’t sure why he wasn’t able to eject from the plane.
Though he joined the Massachusetts Air National Guard in February of this year, he and his family were quickly welcomed as part of the 104th family.
The funeral ceremony will be available for viewing on WWLP.com starting at 4:00 p.m. EST.