There was another F-15C crackup in midair (see above), but instead of the pilot walking away with a busted shoulder, this one—Maj. James Duricy—was killed. Editor in Chief Robert Dudney recalls that 2002 fatal accident in his January editorial. In the 2002 event, part of the tail section broke off, forcing Duricy to eject at 900 mph. As Dudney reports, the Air Force has warned about aging aircraft for years, but, “evidently, the warnings haven’t registered.” In Dudney’s view: “Washington’s apathy toward USAF’s geriatric fleet comes close to outright negligence.” (Read more in “Catastrophic Failure.”)
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.