F-16 Fighting Falcon News

Pilot dies after F-16 crash at Shaw Air Force Base

July 1, 2020 (by Asif Shamim) - The pilot of an Air Force F-16CM Fighting Falcon was killed following a crash late Tuesday at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina.

Tail of another Shaw based F-16C

The jet, assigned to the 20th Fighter Wing, crashed at approximately 23:30hrs local time. The pilot 1st Lt. David Schmitz, from 77th Fighter Squadron was taken to Prisma Tuomey Hospital for treatment, where he later died.

The cause of the crash is currently unknown.

“Our condolences go out to the Schmidt family, to the Gamblers and to all of Team Shaw,” said Col. Lawrence T. Sullivan, 20th Fighter Wing commander. “We would like to thank the local Shaw-Sumter community for all the support they’ve shown us, to the Air Force all over the world and to the DOD."

Shaw Air Force Base, located outside Sumter, South Carolina, houses three squadrons of F-16CMs. The 20th Fighter Wing specializes in the suppression of enemy air defenses, air interdiction, and combat search-and-rescue operations. It is the largest and most active F-16 unit in the Air Force. It has roots in World War I, was formed in World War II, has fought in every major U.S. conflict since, and has often been the “tip of the spear” in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This crash is the most recent for the Air Force in the past six weeks, with incidents involving an F-15C crashing in the United Kingdom, and F-35A crash at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida in addition to an F-22A in a separate incident, and another F-35A at Hill Air Force Base in Utah.

Check back for more on this developing story.