The U.S. Air Force has identified the American pilot who died during a routine training flight in Ukraine as Lt. Col. Seth “Jethro” Nehring, the service said in a press release.
- Nehring, a pilot with the California Air National Guard's 194th Fighter Squadron, and Ukrainian Col. Ivan Petrenko were killed during a “routine familiarization” flight while in a Ukrainian Su-27B roughly 175 miles southwest of Kiev on Oct. 16.
- “We are a close-knit family and when a tragedy like this occurs, every member of the 144th Fighter Wing feels it,” U.S. Air Force Col. Daniel Kelly, commander of Nehring's parent unit, the 144th Fighter Wing, said in a statement.
- “We share in the sorrow felt by Jethro’s loved ones and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends as well as those of the Ukrainian aviator.”
- Nehring had been with the 144th Fighter Wing for more than 20 years, beginning his career as an enlisted crew chief before becoming a pilot of F-16 and F-15 fighter aircraft, the service said.
- He was taking part in the Clear Sky exercise, a multinational training event involving the U.S., Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Ukraine, Poland, the Netherlands, Romania, and the United Kingdom.
- The cause of the crash is being investigated by the U.S. and Ukrainian governments.