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Aviano Augments Search for Missing Pilot

Published in In the News

The 31st Fighter Wing launched several of its F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft Jan. 29 to join the ongoing search effort for a U.S. Air Force fighter pilot who was declared missing during a nighttime training mission Jan. 28.

The fighter jets will provide further assistance to the robust rescue operation already underway, joining U.S. and Italian aircraft and ships. Capt. Lucas Gruenther, 31st Fighter Wing chief of flight safety, was conducting an F-16 training sortie over the Adriatic Sea when contact was lost with his aircraft.

U.S. military officials are coordinating search and rescue efforts with Italian military and civilian teams following the loss of communication with an Aviano F-16 fighter jet Monday evening. The aircraft, assigned to the 31st Fighter Wing, was performing a training mission over the Adriatic Sea when the base lost contact with the pilot at approximately 8 p.m. Soon after, Italian aircraft and ships were dispatched to the missing jet's last known location.

Missing F-16 Pilot's Body Recovered

Published in In the News

Buzzards everywhere send their deepest condolences as well as our thoughts and prayers to the friends and family of Lucas.  A terrible loss....

An Italian vessel on the Adriatic Sea on Thursday recovered the body of F-16 pilot Capt. Lucas Gruenther, announced officials at Aviano AB, Italy. Gruenther had been missing since Monday when contact was lost with his F-16 during a nighttime training mission over the water. He was chief of flight safety for Aviano's 31st Fighter Wing.

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The Association is comprised of members of the 510th Fighter Squadron who revel in camaraderie and strive to share the experiences of the Best Fighter Squadron in the Air Force.  Read more about the Association, and its current officers.

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