ENID, Oklahoma — A man from San Diego was one of two United States Air Force pilots killed in a jet crash in Oklahoma Thursday morning, authorities said.
Two U.S. Air Force personnel were killed when two T-38 training aircraft crashed near Vance Air Base in Oklahoma Thursday morning during a “routine training mission,” the Air Force said in a statement.
One of the pilots was identified as 23-year-old Travis B. Wilkie, a student pilot from San Diego who graduated from the Air Force Academy in 2018, according to Stars and Stripes.
The other pilot was an instructor who was identified as 47-year-old Lt. Col. John “Matt” Kincade.
“Two Vance Air Force Base Airmen were killed in an aircraft mishap at approximately 9:10 a.m. (Thursday),” the Air Force said in a statement.
The Air Force initially said that four Air Force personnel had been aboard the aircraft at the time of the incident. The status of the other two service members was not immediately clear.
On Friday, Wilkie’s family issued the following statement on the crash:
“Our son Travis was born ready. His intense personal drive to achieve fueled his incredible accomplishments in academics, athletics and most recently, as an Air Force Academy graduate only weeks away from getting his wings. He made everything look effortless yet he invested great effort in everything. He had a huge smile and a humble heart. He was a great brother and great son. And he was deeply in love with his new wife Peyton. We are immensely proud of Travis and will cherish him forever.”
The twin-engine, two-seater T-38 Talon serves as a training jet for the U.S. Air Force and the aircraft is capable of seating a student and instructor. The aircraft has served as the Air Force’s fighter pilot trainer since 1961. The service recently announced plans to replace the aircraft in the coming years.
The cause of the crash was under investigation.