115th Fighter Wing commander: Investigation underway into pilot’s death in Upper Peninsula crash

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Published: Dec. 11, 2020 at 8:32 AM CST|Updated: Dec. 11, 2020 at 10:20 AM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The commander of the 115th Fighter Wing offered an update Friday on the loss of a Wisconsin Air National Guard pilot who crashed during a training mission over the Upper Peninsula earlier this week.

“Our sadness over this loss may dissipate, but the scar will never heal,” Cmdr. Bart Van Roo said during a news conference. “Yesterday, I did what every commander prays they never have to do, I went with our base chaplain to inform the spouse and immediate family of the loss of their loved one.”

The pilot was identified as Capt. Durwood “Hawk” Jones, of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

A sad update to share: The 115th Fighter Wing announced today the death of the F-16 pilot who crashed in Michigan’s...

Posted by Wisconsin National Guard on Thursday, December 10, 2020

Van Roo also noted that flights from the Truax Field-based Fighter Wing have been grounded for now as the Air National Guard investigates what led to the crash. He described the investigation as a three-phase process that will look at the pre-flight activities, maintenance, aircraft integrity, pilot briefings, and training.

According to Van Roo, the first phase is already under way and it usually takes about a week to assemble the comprehensive investigation team and get them on-site. The second phase is expected to take about 30 days and offer an initial explanation for what happened. The final stages could take up to a year, he added.

The pilot’s F-16 went down around 8 p.m. during a training mission in a remote area of the Hiawatha National Forest, in the northeastern corner of Delta County, near Steuben in Schoolcraft County.

The area where an F-16 crashed Dec. 8, 2020.
The area where an F-16 crashed Dec. 8, 2020.(WLUC)

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