AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. – Officials with the Massachusetts National Guard’s 104th Fighter Wing identified the pilot killed in a Wednesday crash of an F-15 fighter jet in Augusta County, Va. as Lt. Col. Morris “Moose” Fontenot, Jr. of Longmeadow, Mass.
Guard representatives said Fontenot was en route to New Orleans for plane maintenance, including the installation of a radar upgrade, when he reported an in-flight emergency before losing radio contact on Wednesday morning.
Although the plane crash site was quickly located in the rural area, Fontenot’s body was not found until Thursday at the crash site — in tough terrain about 50 miles from Marlinton in Pocahontas County, W.Va.
More than 100 people were part of the search for him.
Initially, there had been the possibility that Fontenot may have been able to eject himself from the aircraft before the crash.
Fontenot was a full-time Wing Inspector General for the 104th and a decorated combat veteran with more than 17 years of F-15 flying experience. While on active duty, he’d served in Washington, D.C., Alaska, Florida, Idaho and Japan and was deployed several times to the Middle East.
The 104th Fighter Wing is tasked with providing air security over much of the Northeast including New York City.
The investigation into the cause of the crash continued on Friday afternoon.