U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Morris "Moose" Fontenot Jr. died this week after crashing an F-15 in the rural mountains of western Virginia
Fontenot and Japanese Air Self Defense Force Lt. Col. Miyake Hideaki, 306th Tactical Fighter Squadron commander, shake hands last year during a meeting at Komatsu Air Base.
Fontenot served in Japan as the 67th Fighter Squadron commander. He is shown in this 2013 picture shaking hands with Japanese Air Self Defense Force Maj. Gen. Yuich Yamamoto at Komatsu Air Base.
Fontenot is shown here talking with Yamamoto (center left), Komatsu Air Base, and others, during a meeting on Komatsu Air Base, Japan, Dec. 12, 2013.
A tragic end to a sad story. Missing F-15 pilot found dead; didn't eject before crash. Photo via @WHSVndiantonio http://t.co/O5Yw8I4m66
“Thoughts and prayers are with the family”: Military pilot was killed in VA F-15 crash
#Virginia search-and-rescue mission on for F-15 fighter jet's pilot after crash today: http://t.co/g7j3WnKtqr #ktuu http://t.co/NgIFlqPWvt
DEVELOPING: Witnesses say they saw pilot eject before F-15 crashed http://t.co/0zvS85GWCL http://t.co/JQJ18Xd6qd
Here is a westward-looking view of Deerfield Valley in western Augusta County, reported site of F-15 crash this AM http://t.co/5OpiE1hkcO
A U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagle similar to the one pictured went down Wednesday in Virginia.
The F-15C hit the ground around 9:00 a.m. after radioing for an emergency during a Massachusetts to New Orleans flight.
The $30 million jet was on a training mission when the incident occurred. Witnesses told local media they saw an ejection, but the Pentagon has not commented on the pilot's status.
A U.S. Air Force has nearly 250 F-15C fighter jets.
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By RYAN GORMAN
A U.S. military fighter jet has gone down in Virginia.
The F-15C went down in the western part of the state near the town of Deerfield just before 9:00 a.m. Wednesday morning.
Witnesses told local media they saw an ejection shortly before the aircraft slammed into the ground, but the Pentagon said the pilot's fate is not known.
The plane's pilot was flying the from a national Guard base in Westfield, Massachusetts, to Barnes Air National Guard base in New Orleans, military officials told the Associated Press.
The F-15 went down in what appears to be farmland in a rural, sparsely populated area. There do not appear to be any injuries or harm caused to people on the ground.
Weather was clear and calm at the time the plane went down.
The pilot was flying a training exercise and radioed an inflight emergency shortly before the incident, officials said.
Witness Gary Beck wrote on Twitter that he heard two big booms and saw a mushroom-type cloud rise above the crash site.
"It's the loudest noise I've ever heard," 63-year-old Rebecca Shinaberry, who lives on a farm about two miles away, told the AP. "Just shook the ground, and from my house we could just see a big plume of smoke."
F-15 fighter jets can fly as fast as 1,875 mph, according to the Air Force. Each one costs $30 million to build. The Air Force has about 250.