- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 14, 2018

An Air Force pilot is dead and another was hospitalized after an Air Force T-38C Talon aircraft crashed at Laughlin Air Force Base in south Texas late Tuesday, military officials said, marking the fifth incident this year involving the supersonic jet and shining on a new spotlight on an already embattled base.

Officials at Laughlin said a full investigation will follow, and it’s not yet clear what led to the crash.

“One pilot is dead, and one was transferred to Val Verde Regional Medical Center when an Air Force T-38C Talon assigned here at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, crashed at approximately 7:40 p.m. today on base,” the base said in a Facebook post late Tuesday night. “The names of the pilots are being withheld for next of kin notification. A board of officers will convene to investigate the incident.”

The crash comes just weeks after three commanders at the base were relieved of duty after “chronic leadership failures,” officials said, and for failing “to correct an evolving situation that led to an environment where some Airmen did not feel safe or respected.”

“By failing to address incidents of dangerous behavior and a threatening environment, irresponsible alcohol consumption, and disrespectful treatment of some students, these leaders did not establish and enforce a culture that upheld our Air Force core values,” Lt. Gen. Steven Kwast, commander of Air Education and Training Command, said in an Oct. 31 statement announcing that wing commander Col. Charles Velino and two others would be relieved.

As of Wednesday morning there had been no suggestion that the leadership failures at the base were connected to the crash, which is the fifth this year involving the supersonic T-38C Talon aircraft.

There have been well over a dozen military aviation accidents so far this year.


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