The F-15C pilot who was killed Monday after his plane crashed into the sea east of the United Kingdom has been identified as 1st Lt. Kenneth “Kage” Allen.
The Air Force announced early Tuesday that Allen, assigned to the 493rd Fighter Squadron of the 48th Fighter Wing at RAF Lakenheath in England, died in Monday’s crash. Allen was the assistant chief of weapons and tactics for his squadron, the wing said in a release.
Allen came to the wing in February, the 48th said. He is survived by his wife and parents.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Lt. Allen, and mourn with his family and his fellow Reapers in the 493rd Fighter Squadron,” wing commander Col. Will Marshall said in the release. “The tremendous outpouring of love and support from our communities has been a ray of light in this time of darkness.”
A photograph Allen posted on Facebook of himself in 2017, wearing his cadet dress uniform at the Air Force Academy, indicates he graduated from the academy. The academy later confirmed in a tweet that Allen was a recent graduate.
“Please join us in grieving this great loss to our Air Force and graduate community,” the academy said.
Allen’s wife Hannah posted heartfelt tributes to her husband on her social media page Tuesday, including a recent video of him playing guitar and singing to her for the last time.
“I think I could fill an ocean with the tears I’ve cried today,” Hannah Allen wrote.
The Facebook page Follow the Flag – North Ogden, which posted photographs of Allen with his family’s permission, said Allen grew up in Northern Utah.
Allen’s F-15 crashed into the North Sea while on a training mission, which the wing described as routine, at about 9:40 a.m. Monday morning. Search and rescue teams, including U.K. Search and Rescue and Her Majesty’s Coastguard, quickly responded to try to save him. The wreckage of his plane was first found, and Marshall later announced that Allen had been found and confirmed to have died.
The cause of the crash remains unknown, and an investigation has begun.
Bryant McConkie, who identified himself as the cousin of Allen’s wife, on Monday night posted a tribute to Allen on Twitter.
“I’ve always had respect for our military, but it never hit this close to home,” McConkie wrote. “I am so grateful for true American heroes like him.”
Stephen Losey covers leadership and personnel issues as the senior reporter for Air Force Times. He comes from an Air Force family, and his investigative reports have won awards from the Society of Professional Journalists. He has traveled to the Middle East to cover Air Force operations against the Islamic State.