The Air Force has released a tragic announcement that occurred yesterday at 4 PM in Texas.
According to an ABC News tweet, an accident occurred while two pilots were flying a T-38 Talon at the Laughlin Air Force Base in Texas. The aircraft crashed, killing one pilot and severely injuring the other.
According to Fox News, the Air Force will not disclose the identities of the pilots until they can notify next of kin. The surviving pilot of the crash was taken to Val Verde Region Medical Center in Del Rio for his injuries, but it’s not clear how severe those injuries are.
The Air Force confirmed the accident in an announcement on Twitter saying, “It is with great sadness we announce the passing of one of our own and the injury of another Airman during a plane crash near Del Rio, Texas. Our thoughts and deepest condolences go out to the families, friends and Airmen affected by this tragedy.”
Military officials are investigating the accident to determine what caused the crash. An official familiar with the investigation told reporters that so far it appears to have been a problem with the jet’s gearbox. If true, this would mean the crash was a result of mechanical failure and not the actions of the pilots involved.
While they are looking into the cause of the accident, 47th Flying Training Wing vice commander Col. Michelle Pryor says it’s not their main focus right now. “Our biggest priority at this time is caring for the family and friends of our Airmen,” she said.
Col. Pryor continued saying the loss is devastating to the other members of the Air Force. “We are a close knit family, and when a tragedy like this occurs every member of the U.S. Armed Forces feels it. Our people take top priority, and we are committed to ensuring their safety and security.”
This accident comes on the heels of another involving a US Navy training jet in October. According to United Press International, a Navy T-45c Goshawk plane crashed in the Cherokee National Forest.
Military officials confirmed the deaths of the two pilots, an instructor and a trainee of the Navy. The cause of this crash has not been publicly revealed, though it has been noted by officials that the T-45c Goshawk line had previous issues with its oxygen systems that caused its pilots to suffer hypoxia.
While flight training in the military is incredibly dangerous as the pilots are exposed to incredible pressures and challenges to ensure their capabilities in combat situations, there is a great concern that both of these crashes and others are the result of mechanical failings and not the pilots’ abilities.
Military training is, in and of itself, very dangerous business and budget cuts make it even more so. Do you believe military budgeting should be a priority?
Though entirely speculative, these mechanical failures may have to do with the number of budget cuts that the military and defense departments experienced under former President Barack Obama. Improper funding could have resulted in lack of proper maintenance, testing and perhaps the initial construction may have seen corners cut in order to stay within budget restrictions.
As of now, our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of these brave individuals who were in training to fight for our country. Hopefully, investigations will reveal the cause of these crashes and proper corrections can be made to the aircraft to prevent something like this from ever happening again.