Rescuers found the two pilots whose F-15s went missing over the Gulf of Mexico Feb. 20 around 2 p.m. CST, but one died at the hospital, according to an Air Force statement. Coast Guard crews found the pilots around 5 p.m., supported by an AC-130H and CV-22 from the 1st Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt Field, Fla. The two pilots were from the 58th Fighter Squadron of the 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin AFB, Fla., and had been flying a training sortie at the time of the accident. The service is withholding names until it can notify next of kin.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.