Pilot identified following F-16 aircraft crash on Shaw Air Force Base

Pilot identified following F-16 aircraft crash on Shaw Air Force Base
Air Force pilot 1st Lt. David Schmitz was 32 years old when he died in the crash. (Source: Laughlin Air Force Base)

SUMTER, S.C. (WIS) - Shaw Air Force Base has identified the pilot of the U.S. Air Force F-16CM Fighting Falcon who died in a crash late Tuesday night.

Officials say the pilot was 32-year-old 1st Lt. David Schmitz from the 77th Fighter Squadron. Details of what caused the crash have not been released.

With next of kin notification complete, we can confirm that the pilot killed in the F-16CM crash on June 30, 2020, was...

Posted by Shaw Air Force Base on Thursday, July 2, 2020

The aircraft was assigned to the 20th Fighter Wing.

The crash occurred on the military base around 11:30 p.m. on June 30.

Officials at Shaw AFB say that the aircraft was on a routine training mission with Schmitz on board as the pilot when the crash happened.

Shaw AFB emergency responders were on scene. Sumter County Fire and Rescue assisted with the crash.

The pilot of the F-16CM that crashed at approximately 2330 on June 30, 2020, during a routine training mission here at...

Posted by Shaw Air Force Base on Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Schmitz died at the scene of the crash, the Air Force confirmed.

On Wednesday, Sumter County Sheriff Anthony Dennis issued the following statement:

“We at Sumter County Sheriff’s Office were saddened to learn of the tragic incident that occurred at Shaw Air Force Base Wednesday morning. We have a great relationship with Shaw and will continue to be here for them, especially during this difficult time. The feeling of losing one of your own is indescribable. Our condolences go out to the airman’s family and Shaw.”

Schmitz’s wife, Valerie, also issued a statement on Facebook honoring her late husband.

I wish I could wake up from this nightmare. Yesterday I woke up early and let my sweet Dave sleep in as long as he...

Posted by Valerie Schmitz on Wednesday, July 1, 2020

The incident is currently under investigation.

This is a developing story.

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