UPDATE 3: Navy Identifies Deceased Sailors in F/A-18F Crash


Story Number: NNS180314-19Release Date: 3/14/2018 9:05:00 PM
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From Naval Air Force Atlantic

NORFOLK (NNS) -- The following story was posted March 15 at 11 p.m. EDT.

Two U.S. naval aviators died March 14, 2018, when their F/A-18F Super Hornet crashed on final approach near Naval Air Station, Key West, Florida.

The aviators have been identified as Lt. Cmdr. James Brice Johnson and Lt. Caleb Nathaniel King, both Florida residents.

Both pilots were assigned to the "Blacklions" of Strike Fighter Squadron Two One Three(VFA-213), based at Naval Air Station Oceana and assigned to Carrier Air Wing Eight.

"The entire Blacklion Family is grieving the loss of two great Americans. Lt. Cmdr. Johnson and Lt. King were phenomenal young men, exceptional naval aviators, and were living models of what honor, courage and commitment really mean," said VFA-213's commanding officer, Cmdr. Kevin Robb.

Johnson, a naval aviator and 2007 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, was piloting the jet when the incident occurred while King, a 2012 U.S. Naval Academy graduate, was serving as the weapons systems operator.

"As warfighters they excelled in combat, as naval officers they exemplified the qualities of what our Navy values most dear. I was extremely proud to have led, flown and served with both Brice and Caleb," Robb said. "I would ask that during this trying time we all keep the families of our two heroes in our thoughts and prayers."

The F/A-18F remains in the water where it crashed and will stay there until a Mishap Investigation Board (MIB) conducts its investigation. The MIB consists of highly qualified naval officers with extensive experience in all aspects of aviation.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and squadron mates of these two aviators," said Rear Adm. Roy J. Kelley, commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic. "A full investigation will be conducted to discover the cause of this mishap."

The following story was posted March 15 at 2:45 p.m. EDT.

The F/A-18F crash, which occurred March 14 just east of Naval Air Station Key West, is currently under investigation.

Today, the squadron took the day off from training in order to grieve. The remaining squadrons in Carrier Air Wing EIGHT were briefed on the mishap and then resumed normal training operations. The F/A-18F remains in the water where it crashed and will stay there until a Mishap Investigation Board (MIB) conducts its investigation. The MIB consists of high qualified naval officers with extensive experience in all aspects of aviation. The MIB thoroughly examines previous aircraft maintenance, number of hours flown on the aircraft, physical condition of the aircrew and their activities previous to the accident.

Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Southeast has a Navy On-Scene Coordinator (NOSC) who is the Commander, Navy Region Southeast representative who overseas emergency environmental impacts and makes decisions on the best way to remediate or mitigate environmental hazards. These hazards may be caused by circumstances such as aircraft mishaps or hurricanes. The goal is to restore the impact to the pre-existing condition and to coordinate the overall Navy response. This includes close coordination with other Navy entities, state, local and federal stakeholders and possibly outside agency contractors.

The primary next of kin of the two aviators killed in the mishap have been notified and per DoD instruction, names of the deceased will be released 24-hours after notification. A release will be sent out this evening at 10 p.m. EDT for official confirmation of those killed in the crash.

VFA-213 is scheduled to complete their training in Key West on March 21 where they will return to Naval Air Station Oceana.

The following story was posted March 15 at 8:30 a.m. EDT.

An F/A-18F Super Hornet crashed on final approach to Boca Chica Field, Naval Air Station, Key West, Florida at approximately 4:30 p.m. EDT, March 14.

Search and rescue crews were notified shortly after the crash where they recovered both the pilot and weapons systems officer from the water approximately one mile east of the runway. Both were taken by ambulance to Lower Keys Medical Center.

Both aviators have been declared deceased. Per Department of Defense policy, the names of the aviators are being withheld until 24 hours after next-of-kin notification.

The F/A-18F is a dual-seated aircraft assigned to the "Black Lions" of Strike Fighter Squadron Two One Three(VFA-213), based at Naval Air Station Oceana and was conducting a training flight.

The cause of the mishap is currently under investigation.

The following story was posted March 14 at 9 p.m. EDT.

An F/A-18F Super Hornet crashed on final approach to Boca Chica Field, Naval Air Station, Key West, Florida at approximately 4:30 p.m. EDT, March 14.

Search and rescue crews were notified shortly after the crash where they recovered both the pilot and weapons systems officer from the water approximately one mile east of the runway. Both were taken by ambulance to Lower Keys Medical Center.

The F/A-18F is a dual-seated aircraft assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron Two One Three (VFA-213) based at Naval Air Station Oceana and was conducting a training flight.

The cause of the mishap is currently under investigation.

 
RELATED PHOTOS
Composite image showing naval aviators Lt. Cmdr. James Brice Johnson, left, and Lt. Caleb Nathaniel King.
180316-N-N0101-0001 WASHINGTON (March 16, 2018) Composite image showing naval aviators Lt. Cmdr. James Brice Johnson, left, and Lt. Caleb Nathaniel King. The Florida residents died March 14, 2018, when their F/A-18F Super Hornet crashed on final approach near Naval Air Station, Key West, Florida. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)
March 16, 2018
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