BOSTON, Aug. 29 (UPI) -- The Massachusetts Air National Guard released the identity on Friday of the 104th Fighter Wing pilot who died Wednesday when his F-15C Eagle crash landed in rural Virginia en route to Naval Air Station New Orleans.
"On behalf of the family of our fallen pilot and with a sense of profound sadness, I am sad to share that Lt. Col. Morris 'Moose' Fontenot, Jr., was killed tragically in Wednesday's F-15 crash," said Col. James Keefe, 104th Fighter Wing Commander. "We all continue to keep the Fontenot family in our thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time."
Radio contact was lost with Fontenot five minutes before the jet crash landed Wednesday morning at approximately 9:05 a.m. EDT in a remote, wooded area of the George Washington National Forest.
The pilot was reported missing after the crash and an exhaustive two-day aerial and ground search ensued. Late Thursday, the 10rth Fighter Wing confirmed "the pilot was fatally injured in the Aug. 27 crash."
An investigation into the crash is underway.
Fontenot was a 1996 Air Force Academy graduate and had active duty assignments in Alaska, Florida, Idaho, Washington, D.C., Japan, and numerous deployments to the Middle East. He joined the Massachusetts Air National Guard in February 2014 and served in the 104th Fighter Wing as the full-time Wing Inspector General.
A decorated combat veteran, Fontenot earned many medals, including the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Aerial Achievement Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal, and Combat Readiness Medal.