Two Louisiana Air National Guard F-15 pilots from the 159th fighter Wing responded to an alert last week, intercepting a small civilian aircraft that turned out to be pilotless—because, according to various news reports—pilot Marcus Schrenker had bailed out in an attempt to fake his own death. Maj. Matt Rippen and Capt. Josh Fogle were on alert at their base in Belle Chasse when their unit received a task to find an airplane that the FAA said had made a distress call. The two F-15 pilots picked up the airplane as it headed toward the Gulf of Mexico and saw that there was no pilot. They shadowed it until it crashed and directed local authorities to the crash site. (For more on Schrenker, read this Associated Press report) (Louisiana Guard report by Capt. Beverly Couto)
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.