Japanese air force officer killed in training jet crash in Alabama

US Air Force T-38 plane (Photo by Master Sgt. Christopher Boitz/US Air Force)

A Japanese air force officer and a US Air Force instructor pilot were killed in a training flight crash in Alabama on Friday, Feb. 19 around 5 p.m. local time.

Japan’s Air Self Defense Force office, in his 20s and a first lieutenant (二等空尉), lost his life aboard a US Air Force T-38 plan, which was landing at the Montgomery Regional Airport. It went down in a wooded area adjacent to the airport.

This incident was the first fatal crash involving Japan’s Air Self Defense Force members studying in the US.

The Japanese officer and the US instructor’s names were not yet released.

The Japanese officer belonged to an air training unit basted at the Hamamatsu air base in Shizuoka Prefecture, and had been in the US for about two years to earn a pilot license.

On Feb. 19, the Japanese officer was learning maneuvering and other skills in the US Air Force curriculum. The T-38 plan was assigned to the 14th Flying Training Wing from the 50th Training Squadron, based in Columbus, Missouri, and was headed to Tallahassee, Florida.

Source: NHK News, Kyodo News, New York Post, and Alabama News Network