An F-16 assigned to the 309th Fighter Squadron at Luke AFB, Ariz., crashed in field just west of the base around 7 p.m. on June 26. Both pilots safely ejected; neither was injured, according to a base release. The pilots were conducting a routine training mission at the time of the incident. Brig. Gen. Michael Rothstein, 56th Fighter Wing commander, praised the members of Luke’s police and fire departments which responded to the crash. “An incident like this highlights the close cooperation between our fire and emergency services and their counterparts in the surrounding community,” said Rothstein in the release. The Air Force has not released a cause of the accident, which remains under investigation, but Fox News has reported a bird strike may be to blame.
As the U.S. continues to pursue a diplomatic resolution with Russia over its troop buildup on the Ukraine border, the Defense Department is looking into what capabilities it will need to reassure NATO allies if Russia does launch an invasion, its top spokesperson said Jan. 21.