The Massachusetts Air National Guard has released the name of the pilot who died Wednesday when his F-15 crashed in rural Virginia.
Lt. Colonel Morris “Moose” Fontenot, Jr., was a decorated combat veteran with 17 years of experience flying F-15s.
An official statement said his active duty assignments included “numerous” deployments to the Middle East. Fontenot joined the Massachusetts Air National Guard this past February, and was the full-time Wing Inspector General and an instructor pilot for the 104th Fighter Wing, based at Barnes air base in Westfield.
On Wednesday morning, he flew the F-15C toward New Orleans for a radar upgrade. He reported an in-flight emergency, before losing radio contact.
The unit’s commander, Col. James Keefe, said in a statement, “We all continue to keep the Fontenot family in our thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time.” According to a bio of his wife posted online, Fontenot’s family – including two teenage daughters – lives in Longmeadow.