Lt. Richard Bullock’s F/A-18E Super Hornet fighter jet went down at about 2:30 p.m. local time on June 3 in a “remote, unpopulated area” near Trona, an unincorporated Mojave Desert community in San Bernardino County, Naval Air Force Pacific said in a statement.
Bullock was assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 113 based at Naval Air Station (NAS) Lemoore, which is home to the Navy’s newest and largest master jet base.
“The Navy mourns this tragic loss alongside the family, friends and shipmates of Lt. Bullock,” officials said.
Recovery efforts are continuing and the scene of the crash is secured by Navy officials; local authorities are assisting in the ongoing investigation.
“No civilians were harmed as a result of this incident,” according to the Navy.
Trona is about 236 miles southeast of NAS Lemoore, which is located in California’s Central Valley.
The air station is home to Commander Strike Fighter Wing Pacific and Commander Joint Strike Fighter Wing and hosts 16 operational Strike Fighter squadrons, according to its website. More than half of the Navy’s F/A-18E Super Hornet fighter jets are based there. It is also the only naval base that houses the F-35C Lightning II.
In October 2020, a F/A-18E Super Hornet from NAS Lemoore went down during a routine training mission in the Mojave Desert; the pilot safely ejected.
On July 31, 2019, another Super Hornet crashed in Death Valley National Park during a training mission, killing the pilot and slightly injuring seven park visitors who were struck by debris.
People regularly gather in the area’s scenic overlook where aviation enthusiasts can watch military aircraft speeding low through a chasm dubbed “Star Wars Canyon.”
The Super Hornet is a twin-engine warplane designed to fly from either aircraft carriers or ground bases on both air-superiority and ground-attack missions.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
From NTD News