Losses and Aviation Safety

USAF identifies Pilots involved in fatal T-38 Crash at Laughlin Air Force Base

The incident marks the second fatal crash of a T-38 at Laughlin in 12 months

The U.S. Air Force (USAF) has identified a pilot who was killed and another who was injured when a T-38C Talon crashed on Nov. 13, 2018 at Laughlin Air Force Base (AFB), Texas.

According to a statement issued late Wednesday Capt. John Graziano, 28, an instructor pilot (IP) attached to the 87th Flying Training Squadron (FTS), was killed in the incident. Fellow IP Capt. Mark Palyok, also with the 87th FTS, was released Wednesday from Val Verde Regional Medical Center after being treated for his injuries.

As explained in a statement posted Wednesday on Laughlin’s Facebook page, the T-38 crashed about 7:40 p.m. local time on the south Texas base just outside Del Rio.

“Knowing how everyone is effected by this tragedy, my immediate concern is making sure that every member of our Laughlin family is okay,” Col. Lee Gentile, 47th Flying Training Wing commander, said in the statement. “Together, we are Laughlin and now is the time that we stand together to take care of one another.”

As reported by Stars And Stripes, the incident marks the second fatal crash of a T-38 at Laughlin in 12 months, coming almost one year after USAF Capt. Paul Barbour was killed and Capt. Joshua Hammervold was injured when their Talon experienced total hydraulic failure, according to an investigation into the wreck.

It was also the fifth T-38 crash in the last 12 months. Those incidents happened at other locations and the pilots survived.

This week’s crash came just weeks after the USAF removed three of the top commanders at Laughlin, citing concerns about dangerous and threatening behavior at the major pilot training installation, the service’s Air Education and Training Command announced on Oct. 31.

The T-38C Talon II is a is a twin-engine, high-altitude, supersonic jet trainer used in a variety of roles. Air Education and Training Command is the primary user of the T-38 for joint specialized undergraduate pilot training. Air Education and Training Command uses the T-38C to prepare pilots for front-line fighter and bomber aircraft such as the F-15E Strike Eagle, F-15C Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, B-1B Lancer, A-10 Thunderbolt and F-22 Raptor.

Photo credit: U.S. Air Force

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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