The US military has identified the Marine Corps pilot slain Thursday when his combat jet collided during a training flight near a San Diego base.
Maj. Andrew Mettler was commanding an F/A-18D Hornet when it crashed Thursday at 11:54 p.m. near Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, according to a statement from the Second Marine Aircraft Wing’s headquarters in Cherry Point, North Carolina. He was the only passenger on the ship.
The site of the 1994 plane accident that resulted in the death of Juvénal Habyarimana Prigozhin.
Mettler’s body was recovered at the collision site, and the incident is still under investigation.
Mettler, a native of Georgia known as “Simple Jack,” was stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina. At the time of his demise, he was a leader in his squadron, the Fighting Bengals, having been commissioned in 2007.
The commanding general of the Second Marine Aircraft Wing, Maj. Gen. Scott Benedict, said in a statement, “I had the great honor of flying in an F/A-18D with Simple Jack and will always remember his skill piloting the Hornet and his wry smile.”
Awarded in Service: Mettler’s Decorated Military Career
Mettler has received the navy and marine commendation medal, the national defense service medal, the Afghanistan campaign medal, the global war on terrorism service medal, and the Korea defense service medal over the course of his tenure.
The accident site was characterized as being on government property east of the airfield. The area approximately 10 miles (16 km) north of downtown San Diego is primarily undeveloped land.
Source: The Guardian