The U.S. Air Force pilot who died Monday after his F-15C Eagle jet crashed into the North Sea off the coast of England during a training exercise had just arrived there in February, his unit says.
The 48th Fighter Wing at RAF Lakenheath – the largest U.S. Air Force-operated base in England – identified the deceased airman Tuesday as 1st Lt. Kenneth Allen, assistant chief of weapons and tactics for the 493rd Fighter Squadron.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Lt. Allen, and mourn with his family and his fellow Reapers in the 493rd Fighter Squadron,” the unit’s commander, Col. Will Marshall, said in a statement. “The tremendous outpouring of love and support from our communities has been a ray of light in this time of darkness.”
September 12, 2013: An F-15C Eagle prepares to refuel with a KC-135R Stratotanker, en route to the Arctic Challenge Exercise in Norway. (U.S. Airforce/1st Lt. Christopher Mesnard)
Allen first joined the 48th Fighter Wing in February and is now survived by his wife and parents, the unit added.
The cause of the fatal crash remains under investigation.
The 48th Fighter Wing has played a key role in anti-terrorism operations, flying combat missions, and providing combat support in both Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, according to its Facebook page.
Fox News’ David Aaro contributed to this report.