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Air Force identifies pilot killed in T-38 crash at Laughlin AFB

Laughlin Air Force Base officials on Wednesday evening identified the pilot killed in a T-38 crash as Capt. John Graziano.

A second pilot, Capt. Mark Palyok, was injured in Tuesday’s crash, Laughlin said in a Facebook post. Palyok was treated at Val Verde Regional Medical Center in Texas and released on Wednesday. Both were instructor pilots at the 87th Flying Training Squadron at Laughlin.

Graziano, 28, was from Elkridge, Maryland, Laughlin officials said, and is survived by his mother, father, sisters and brother.

“Knowing how everyone is effected by this tragedy, my immediate concern is making sure that every member of our Laughlin family is okay,” Col. Lee Gentile, commander of the 47th Flying Training Wing, said in the post. “Together, we are Laughlin, and now is the time that we stand together to take care of one another.”

An investigation into the cause of the crash has begun, and Gentile pledged to investigate it to the fullest extent possible.

In a video posted online, Gentile spoke about the toll of losing Graziano and Capt. Paul Barbour, who died in another T-38 crash last November.

“Everybody’s hurting. Everybody, including me. That’s our second loss in the last year, the second T-38 crash. There’s a lot of folks here on Laughlin, teammates, airmen, family, friends, that are grieving the loss of John Graziano, and my heart goes out to his friends and his family as they work through this difficult time in their lives.”

Gentile said leaders at Laughlin are asking airmen how they’re doing as they walk around the base.

“I know there are people that are hurting out there, just like I am," Gentile said. "But we’re here, we can help.”

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