F-16 Fighting Falcon News

USAF F-16 crashes in Iraq

November 27, 2006 (by Asif Shamim) - A U.S. F-16CG has crashed during operations north of Falluja in Iraq's western Anbar province. According to sources the pilot did not survive.

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USAF F-16C block 40 #90-0776 of the 524th FS visiting Tulsa, Oklahoma on February 24th, 2005. [Photo by Ralph Duenas]

The F-16 (#90-0776), belonging to the 524th Fighter Squadron, was supporting coalition ground forces when it went down at about 13.35hrs, about 20 miles northwest of the capital Baghdad in Anbar province.

Military sources have only issued brief statements in which no information about the cause of the crash have been released. The status of the pilot is officially listed as "duty status: whereabouts unknown".

However according to Reuters, a local journalist who shot film of the wreckage of the plane said he was in no doubt the pilot was dead. The film showed the bloodied and motionless body of what appeared to be a man in a flight suit wearing a parachute harness lying in a field strewn with the wreckage of the plane.

Cannon AFB officials have said the pilot was not from there air base. Public Informations Officer, Capt. Rebecca Garcia was quoted to have said "All of our Cannon pilots are accounted for".

Eyewitness Mohammed Al-Obeidi, an Iraqi who lives in the nearby town of Karmah, said he saw the jet flying up and down erratically before it nose-dived and exploded in a farm field.

He said other U.S. warplanes rushed to the crash site and were circling around it.

Updates:
  • 29/11/2006 The DOD have released the name of the Airman listed as 'duty status - whereabouts unknown'. Maj. Troy L. Gilbert of the 309th FS was the pilot of the F-16.

  • 03/12/2006 The US military has listed Maj. Gilbert as killed in action. The US Air Force said Sunday that his identity was confirmed through DNA analysis of remains recovered at the crash site 20 miles northwest of the Iraqi capital.


In Memoriam


Additional images:

524th FS (Jon Somerville collection)