March 23, 2022 (by Lieven Dewitte) - An Oklahoma Air National Guard F-16 crashed in western Louisiana midday Wednesday. It went down in an uninhabited, wooded area of Beauregard Parish, near the Louisiana-Texas border south of Fort Polk.
The jet was flying out of Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base, southeast of Houston, as part of a routine alert training exercise in which it was to conduct a mock air intercept of another aircraft. The flight was expected to last about an hour-and-a-half, but had not reached the point of the mock intercept when the crash happened.
While the jet crashed in a clearing in the woods, the pilot was able to safely eject and walk away after reaching the ground.
Although the area’s terrain was making it difficult for law enforcement to reach the crash site, the pilot was quickly located. He was identified as Major Alexander Drummond, mission commander with the 138th Fighter Wing.
The F-16 was one of the Oklahoma Air National Guard's block 42
models flown by the 125th Fighter Squadron "Tulsa Vipers"
, part of the 138th Fighter Wing. Oklahoma airmen in Houston protect US airspace throughout the Gulf of Mexico and as far west as Arizona as part of the North American Aerospace Defense Command. Before flying south to Ellington Field, they train at Tulsa Air National Guard Base.
According to the Air Force Safety Center, the Air Force had three F-16 incidents in fiscal year 2021, including one that destroyed the plane and killed the pilot.
Last month, a Mirage F1 fighter jet from Luke Air Force Base in Arizona crashed in the desert while earlier this month, a Marine F-18 Hornet crashed and exploded at a former South Carolina governor's family plantation.