WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Airmen at Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield paused Thursday morning to remember one of their own, who died in a tragic accident. A prayer service and moment of silence was held in honor of 104th Fighter Wing pilot Lt. Col. Morris “Moose” Fontenot.
It has been one year since Lt. Col. Fontenot died when his F-15 C fighter jet went down over the George Washington National Forest in rural Virginia. At the time of the accident, Fontenot was flying from Westfield to New Orleans for a radar upgrade.
The brief prayer service and moment of silence was held at 8:58 A.M., the exact time one year ago that Fontenot’s jet went down. The moment of silence took place both at Barnes Air National Guard Base and in Savannah, Georgia, where many member of the 104th are right now for a training operation.
During the prayer, the Chaplin for the 104th talked about the past year of grieving, saying “we still have questions and we still carry pain and grief but we also have memories of him that sustain us.”
Col. Pete Green, Vice Commander of the 104th described to 22News what Moose meant to them.
“So he was a leader from all facets as a fighter pilot, as an officers, and as an individual and as a man. He would want us to continue on with doing what we are doing right now, which is making sure that this wing is the best fighter wing in the combat air forces,” Green said.
Lt. Col. Fonentenot was a full-time wing inspector general and had logged more than 2,300 flight hours as an F-15 instructor pilot. He served on numerous deployments to the Middle East, and was a decorated combat veteran.
He left behind a wife, two daughters, his mother and father.