The Massachusetts Air National Guard pilot who was killed Wednesday when his F-15 jet crashed into the remote mountains near Deerfield Valley, Virginia, has been identified by authorities.
Lt. Col. Morris "Moose" Fontenot Jr. had served with the 104th Fighter Wing, based at Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield, as an F-15 pilot with more than 2,300 flight hours and as the full-time wing inspector general, according to officials.
Authorities say Lt. Col. Fontenot was flying alone to New Orleans to upgrade the military jet's radar system when he reported an in-flight emergency before Washington lost radio contact just after 9 a.m. Wednesday. Officials announced his death Thursday night.
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He joined the Massachusetts Air National Guard in Feb. 2014 after serving in Washington D.C., Japan, Idaho, Florida, Alaska and in numerous deployments to the Middle East. Fontenot, a graduate of the Air Force Academy in 1996, had 17 years of experience flying F-15s and was a decorated veteran, including earning the Meritorious Service Medal. The 41 year old lived in Longmeadow with his wife and two children.
The investigation into the crash is ongoing.