Pilot killed in US military jet crash in California identified: officials

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Saturday, August 26, 2023
Pilot killed in US military jet crash identified: officials
On Saturday, the U.S. Marine Corps identified the marine who died in an F/A18D hornet crash during a training exercise.

SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- The pilot killed in a US Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornet fighter crash Thursday night in Southern California has been identified.

The pilot, identified as Maj. Andrew Mettler, was confirmed dead Friday after the crash of a combat jet near a San Diego base, officials said.

The F/A-18D Hornet went down at 11:54 p.m. Thursday near Marine Corps Air Station Miramar and searchers recovered the pilot at the site, the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing said in a statement from its headquarters in Cherry Point, North Carolina.

Mettler, part of Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 224, was the only person aboard the jet. The squadron is based at MCAS Beaufort, South Carolina.

Mettler, who was from Georgia, joined the Marine Corps in November of 2007.

"I am deeply saddened to share the loss of Maj. Andrew 'Simple Jack' Mettler, a fellow Marine aviator who was honing his craft as a Hornet pilot and leader in his squadron, the Fighting Bengals. I had the great honor of flying in a F/A-18D with Simple Jack and will always remember his skill piloting the Hornet and his wry smile," 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing Commanding General Maj. Gen. Scott Benedict said in a release. "As 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, we mourn the loss of one of our brothers who was devoted to the Marine Corps mission, and it is our duty to continue forward in a manner that would reflect his devotion. Maj. Mettler's legacy will remain with every Marine, Sailor, and civilian that he served with, and we have the obligation to continue to uphold the values that he stood for."

A Miramar statement said earlier that the aircraft was not part of its resident air wing but was operating from the air station.

The crash site was described as government property east of the air station. The site about 10 miles (16 kilometers) north of downtown San Diego is an area of largely vacant land.

The video in the player above is from a previous report.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.