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NORAD F-15s Scrambled To Intercept A Stolen Airliner Piloted By A 'Suicidal' Employee
Two F-15Cs from the 142nd Fighter Wing from the Portland Air National Guard Base in Oregon were scrambled on Friday evening after a "suicidal" airline employee absconded in a Bombardier Q-400 twin-turboprop airliner out of Seattle International Airport before crashing the aircraft on a small island.
North American Aerospace Defense Command deployed the two F-15Cs after the aircraft was spotted by bystanders “doing stunts in air or lack of flying skills" over outlying Seattle neighborhoods, according to local law enforcement.
Military Times reports that NORAD directed the pilots to "fly supersonic to expedite the intercept ... while air traffic control tried to talk the pilot into landing the plane at nearby Joint Base Lewis McChord."
“NORAD fighters were working to redirect the aircraft out over the Pacific Ocean when it crashed on the southern tip of Ketron Island in the southern end of Puget Sound,” NORAD said in a statement. “NORAD fighters did not fire upon the aircraft. The event was subsequently passed to local rescue and law enforcement.”
The pilot, identified by local law enforcement as a 29-year-old ground service agent for Alaska Airlines sister carrier Horizon Air identified only as "Rich," sent several distraught transmissions while piloting the aircraft over open frequencies.
“I’ve got a lot of people that care about me," the pilot says. "It’s going to disappoint them to hear that I did this...Just a broken guy, got a few screws loose, I guess.”
Pressed to land at Joint Base Lewis McChord, the pilot nervously joked about the fighter jets chasing his aircraft “They probably got anti-aircraft!” When asked about previous flight experience that, he responded that he'd “played some video games before."
The aircraft eventually crashed into a small island off the coast of the Puget Sound, sending a plume of fire and smoke into the air and prompting the Coast Guard to deploy a vessel to the scene of the crash, Petty Officer Ali Flockerzi told the Associated Press on Saturday.
The status of the pilot following the crash is currently unknown.
It didn't take long for a central theme to emerge at the funeral of U.S. Marine Pfc. Joseph Livermore, an event attended by hundreds of area residents Friday at Union Cemetery in Bakersfield.
It's a theme that stems from a widespread local belief that the men and women who have served in the nation's armed forces are held in particularly high esteem here in the southern valley.
"In Bakersfield and Kern County, we celebrate our veterans like no place else on Earth," Bakersfield Chief of Police Lyle Martin told the gathering of mourners.
ROCKFORD — Delta Force sniper Sgt. First Class James P. McMahon's face was so badly battered and cut, "he looked like he was wearing a fright mask" as he stood atop a downed Black Hawk helicopter and pulled free the body of a fellow soldier from the wreckage.
That's the first description of McMahon in the book by journalist Mark Bowden called "Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War." It is a detailed account of the horrific Battle of the Black Sea fought in the streets of Mogadishu, Somalia, in October 1993. It claimed the lives of 18 elite American soldiers.
Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher will retire as a chief petty officer now that President Donald Trump has restored his rank.
"Before the prosecution of Special Warfare Operator First Class Edward Gallagher, he had been selected for promotion to Senior Chief, awarded a Bronze Star with a "V" for valor, and assigned to an important position in the Navy as an instructor," a White House statement said.
"Though ultimately acquitted on all of the most serious charges, he was stripped of these honors as he awaited his trial and its outcome. Given his service to our Nation, a promotion back to the rank and pay grade of Chief Petty Officer is justified."
The announcement that Gallagher is once again an E-7 effectively nullifies the Navy's entire effort to prosecute Gallagher for allegedly committing war crimes. It is also the culmination of Trump's support for the SEAL throughout the legal process.
On July 2, military jurors found Gallagher not guilty of premeditated murder and attempted murder for allegedly stabbing a wounded ISIS fighter to death and opening fire at an old man and a young girl on separate occasions during his 2017 deployment to Iraq.