A memorial service is scheduled for Sunday at Barnes Air National Guard Base, for Lt. Col. Morris Fontenot Jr., whose F-15C jet crashed in Deerfield, Va., last week.
“During this memorial service, members of the 104th Fighter Wing will be able to pay their respects to Lt. Col. Fontenot and to celebrate his life of service,” said Col. James Keefe, 104th Fighter Wing Commander. “This tragedy hit the wing very hard, and this memorial service is important for the Barnes family to find closure after this accident.”
This memorial service will be open to military members and their families, as well as invited guests whom may not be able to attend Lt. Col. Fontenot’s interment at the Air Force Academy in early October. This service will include eulogies being shared by members of the base and members of the Fontenot family.
Background: At approximately 9:05 a.m. Wednesday August 27, Washington Center Air Traffic Control in Washington, D.C. lost radio contact with the F-15C aircraft stationed at the 104th Fighter Wing, Mass., and at approximately 9:30 a.m. the 104th Fighter Wing learned that the aircraft had crashed in a remote site near Deerfield Valley, Va.
The single-seat F-15C aircraft was en route to Naval Air Station New Orleans to receive a radar system upgrade. The flight was not related to the 104th Fighter Wing’s homeland defense mission, and there were no munitions on the aircraft during this flight. The pilot was flying a solo mission when he reported an in-flight emergency prior to the loss of radio contact with Washington Center.
Officials confirmed Thursday evening at 5:00 p.m. the pilot, Lt. Col. Morris “Moose” Fontenot Jr., was fatally injured in the Aug. 27 crash of an F-15C Eagle in the remote mountains near Deerfield Valley, Va.
Lt. Col. Morris Fontenot Jr. served with the 104th Fighter Wing as the full-time Wing Inspector General, responsible for the implementation of the Air Force Inspection System and as an F-15 instructor pilot with more than 2,300 flight hours. A 1996 Air Force Academy Graduate, Lt. Col. Fontenot was additionally a Weapons School Graduate with more than 17 years of F-15 flying experience.
He served as a squadron commander at multiple locations. Following active duty assignments in Washington, D.C., Japan, Idaho, Florida, Alaska and numerous deployments to the Middle East, Lt. Col. Fontenot joined the Massachusetts Air National Guard in February 2014. He was a decorated combat veteran, earning the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Aerial Achievement Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal, and Combat Readiness Medal among others.