By Enid News & Eagle
LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas — A student pilot was killed and two other pilots injured in a mishap Friday involving two T-38C trainers at Laughlin Air Force Base near Del Rio, Texas.
The 47th Flying Training Wing at Laughlin identified the dead pilot as 2nd Lt. Anthony D. Wentz, 23. He was a student pilot with the 47th Student Squadron from Falcon, Colo.
The accident happened at 10 a.m. Friday. The accident is under investigation.
“A loss such as this affects us all, but one thing we never fail to do is times of crisis is come together, support one another and respond,” said Col. Craig Prather, 47th FTW commander. “Our focus remains on supporting the families involved, and our thoughts and prayers continue to be with them and their teammates today.”
One of the two injured pilots was treated at released at Val Verde Regional Medical Center in Del Rio, according to a news release from the 47 FTW. The other injured pilot was in critical condition evacuated by air to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio.
The fatal crash was the third involving a T-38C Talon trainer at Laughlin since 2017. The others happened in November 2017 and November 2018. Air Force investigators blamed those crashes on hydraulic failure and loss of engine compression, respectively. The trainer jets were flying solo and both pilots died.
Two pilots were killed in a crash involving two T-38s at Vance Air Force Base on Nov. 21, 2019. Instructor pilot Lt. Col. John “Matt” Kincade, 47, and student pilot 2nd Lt. Travis Wilkie, 23, were killed in that accident. They were flying on the left wing of a second T-38 to the center runway at Vance, a formation landing, when their aircraft collided with the lead T-38, rolled over top of it and landed inverted off the runway. That accident was blamed on pilot error.
The T-38 is a twin-engine, supersonic jet trainer made by Northrup Grumman.
It has been in service since the 1960s and is scheduled to be replaced by the T-7 Red Hawk in the next three years.