MADISON, Wis. - Officials with the 115th Fighter Wing based in the Madison area identified on Friday, Dec. 11 the pilot who crashed an F-16 Fighting Falcon in Upper Michigan on Dec. 8.
The pilot was Air Force Capt. Durwood “Hawk” Jones, 37, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, who is survived by his wife and two children.
Officials say Capt. Jones died as a result of the crash during an evening training flight in Michigan’s Hiawatha National Forest, said Col. Bart Van Roo, the 115th Fighter Wing commander.
Capt. Jones joined the Air National Guard in 2011 and graduated from F-16 basic qualification training in 2015. He is a decorated combat veteran, deploying as a part of a United States Pacific Command Theater Support Package to Japan in 2015 and to Korea in 2017. He deployed again in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel to Afghanistan in 2019.
Capt. Jones has been awarded two Air Medal’s with combat “C” devices, which are awarded to individuals who have been personally exposed to hostile action or under significant risk of hostile action.
"The loss of a member like this is a very difficult thing for such a committed group of professionals," said Col. Van Roo, 115th Fighter Wing Commander. "Our sadness over this loss will dissipate. But the scar may never heal."
The incident is now under investigation by the U.S. Air Force -- and officials with the Fighter Wing say they are committed to working closely to ensure a thorough investigation is complete. They explained a 3-phase process that examines all aspects of this incident is now underway. That process includes looking closely at pre-flight activities, maintenance, aircraft integrity, pilot briefings, and training -- all with the goal of determining how this accident occurred.
Flying operations at the 115th Fighter Wing are on hold for now.