One T-38C Talon pilot was killed and two others injured, one critically, in a Friday morning accident involving two military training jets at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas.
The pilot in critical condition was airlifted to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, the 47th Flying Training Wing said in a Friday evening release. The other injured pilot was treated and released from Val Verde Regional Medical Center in Del Rio, where the base is located along the border with Mexico.
The Air Force hasn’t disclosed information about the circumstances of the accident, which occurred around 10 a.m. Friday and is under investigation. Officials will withhold the airmen’s names until 24 hours after their families are contacted.
“Losing teammates is unbelievably painful, and it is with a heavy heart I express my sincere condolences,” wing commander Col. Craig Prather said in the release. “Our hearts, thoughts and prayers are with our pilots involved in this mishap and their families.”
Laughlin hosts the 47th Flying Training Wing, one of the service’s three hubs for teaching American airmen the basics of flight.
Nearly 3,000 employees run specialized undergraduate pilot training for around 500 students from the U.S. and allied countries each year using the T-1A Jayhawk, T-6A Texan II and T-38C Talon.
High-altitude, supersonic Talon jets prepare airmen for fighter or bomber pilot careers in the F-15E Strike Eagle, F-15C Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, B-1B Lancer, A-10 Thunderbolt and F-22 Raptor.
Seven people have died in T-38 accidents that destroyed at least five of the trainer jets since fiscal 2018, according to the Air Force Safety Center. This is the second fatal Talon incident so far this year, after an American instructor pilot and his Japanese student were killed in a crash in Alabama in February.
It’s unclear whether the planes involved in Friday’s crash will be salvaged.
Rachel Cohen is the editor of Air Force Times. She joined the publication as its senior reporter in March 2021. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Frederick News-Post (Md.), Air and Space Forces Magazine, Inside Defense, Inside Health Policy and elsewhere.