After exhaustive search efforts, the body of the pilot of the F-15 that crashed in Augusta County Wednesday has been located and officials have now released the pilot's identify.
Lt. Col. Morris "Moose" Fontenot Jr. served with the 104th Fighter Wing as the full-time Wing Inspector General, responsible for the implementation of the Air Force Inspection System and as an F-15 instructor pilot with more than 2,300 flight hours.
A 1996 Air Force Academy Graduate, Lt. Col. Fontenot was additionally a Weapons School Graduate with more than 17 years of F-15 flying experience. He served as a squadron commander at multiple locations. Following Active Duty assignments in Washington D.C., Japan, Idaho, Florida, Alaska and numerous deployments to the Middle East, Lt. Col. Fontenot joined the Massachusetts Air National Guard in February 2014. He was a decorated combat veteran, earning the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Aerial Achievement Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal, and Combat Readiness Medal among others.
104th Fighter Wing Commander Col. James Keefe announced in a news conference late last night that the pilot’s body was recovered around 5 PM Thursday evening. After searching the remote terrain of the George Washington National Forest surrounding the crash site for more than 30 hours, Keefe says access to the scene of the accident was not granted until late Thursday.
The pilot lost contact with Washington Center Air Traffic Control around 9:05 Wednesday morning, and crashed around 9:30. The cause accident is under investigation. Teams scoured the area exhaustively, and Keefe expressed gratitude for the agencies involved.
"The search team was comprised of local, state and federal agencies as well as civilian volunteers from the community. They truly lived up to our charge to never leave an airman behind."