Following Crash, All Flying Operations Suspended at Laughlin AFB Through Thanksgiving Weekend
DEL RIO, TX — The 47th Flying Training Wing Commander Col. Charlie Velino ordered all flying operations to cease at Laughlin Air Force Base following a crash on a T-38C from the base that occurred Monday, Nov. 20.
“Our community has suffered the irreplaceable loss of one of our pilots,” said Velino. “The immediate concern is to provide support and love to his family, friends and colleagues. Our Airmen and their families are incredibly important to us, and our top priority. For now, we will focus inward to make sure that our base community rallies around those who are suffering and need our support.”
“During this Thanksgiving season, there is value in remembering the debt that we all owe to the brave men and women who serve in the military,” said Velino. “The pilots who train at this base are truly the tip of the spear in securing our national defense, and we are grateful for their choice to serve in that pivotal capacity,” Velino said.
The T-38C, a supersonic two-seat jet trainer, crashed near what appeared to be long final to runway 13 yesterday at 4 p.m. One pilot parachuted out; the other was killed. It is not known if the second pilot was able to eject from the jet. The T-38C is equipped with ejection seats for both pilots. The surviving pilot was being treated at Val Verde Regional Medical Center as of yesterday.
The U.S. Air Force has not released the names of the pilots as of Nov. 21 at 11 p.m.
Laughlin AFB near Del Rio is a primary pilot training school for the U.S. Air Force. About 400 officers earned their USAF pilot wings each year after completing a 52-week course.
The T-38C is used in advanced pilot training for candidates for follow-on assignments in fighters and bombers. The flying training syllabus incorporates formation, acrobatic, instrument, and navigation flight training. Pilots assigned to the 87th Flying Training Squadron operate the T-38C Talon.