Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

Air Force IDs F-16 pilot missing in Adriatic

Jan. 29, 2013 - 10:40AM   |   Last Updated: Jan. 29, 2013 - 10:40AM  |  
An airman marshals an F-16 for refueling Dec. 12, 2012 at Aviano Air Base, Italy. An F-16 based at Aviano crashed in the Adriatic Sea on Jan. 28 during a training mission.
An airman marshals an F-16 for refueling Dec. 12, 2012 at Aviano Air Base, Italy. An F-16 based at Aviano crashed in the Adriatic Sea on Jan. 28 during a training mission. (Staff Sgt. Evelyn Chavez / Air Force)
  • Filed Under

The Air Force has identified the F-16 pilot missing in the Adriatic Sea as the chief of flight safety for the 31st Fighter Wing at Aviano Air Base, Italy.

Capt. Lucas Gruenther was flying a training sortie in an F-16 when contact was lost with his aircraft at about 8 p.m. Monday. Officials dispatched Italian aircraft and ships to the jet's last known location, about 10 to 15 nautical miles east of Cervia.

Officials on Tuesday recovered debris believed to belong to the jet. Officials have found no sign of Gruenther.

An Air Force HC-130 from U.S. Africa Command and a rotation of Navy P-3 Orions from U.S. Naval Forces Europe have joined in the search.

"We are dedicating all available resources to the search and rescue operation," said Brig. Gen Scott J. Zobrist, 31st Fighter Wing commander, in a statement. "I'm grateful to the many Italian and U.S. professionals who are executing this mission. I am hopeful that we will bring him home safely.

Gruenther, 32, was flying as part of a four-jet formation during a night training flight from the Italian base. Italian news agency Ansa reported that the aircraft had reported a problem with the last radio contact.

Gruenther, of Twain Harte, Calif., had previously served as an instructor pilot at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, and was a graduate of the Air Force Academy. His family was notified of his disappearance on Monday, according to the Modesto Bee.

Gruenther and his wife Casey are expecting their first child in two to three weeks, the Bee reported.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Capt. Gruenther and his family," Zobrist said. "I personally appreciate the efforts of the many people who are supporting the Gruenthers in this difficult time."

Answers by RallyPoint

Join trending discussions in the military's #1 professional community. See what members like yourself have to say from across the DoD.

More In News

Start your day with a roundup of top defense news.

VA Home Loan
Rates

Search By:

Product Options:
Zip Code:

News for your in-box

Sign up now for free Military Times E-Reports. Choose from Money and Education. Subscribers: log in for premium e-newsletters.


This Week's Air Force Times

This Week's Air Force Times

Fat bonuses to quit now -- and keep your benefits
Guard and Reserve recruiting airmen hit by force cuts

Subscribe for Print or Digital delivery today!

Classifieds
MilitaryTimes Green Trusted Classifieds Looking to buy, sell and connect on Military Times?
Browse expanded listings across hundreds of military installations.
Faces of valorHonoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
hall of valorThe Hall of Valor is a searchable database of valor award citations collected by Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran and Military Times contributing editor, and by Military Times staff.
Woman who cried rape
(3 replies)
   Last Post: TJMAC77SP
        May 3, 2014 1:32 PM
   Last Post: garhkal
        May 1, 2014 5:03 PM
Cliven Bundy
(45 replies)
   Last Post: Chief_KO
        Apr 26, 2014 9:49 AM
Handbooks

All you need to know about your military benefits.

Benefits handbook

Guard & Reserve All you need to know about the Guard & Reserve.

guard and reserve handbook