March 16 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy has identified two pilots who died in a crash of a fighter jet off the Florida Keys this week.
Lt. Cmdr. James Brice Johnson and Lt. Caleb Nathaniel King died Wednesday when their F/A-18F Super Hornet crashed near Key West, the Navy said.
The pilots had finished a training exercise when the crash occurred on final approach near the Naval Air Station. They were assigned to the "Blacklions" of Strike Fighter Squadron 213 (VFA-213) at Naval Air Station Oceana and assigned to Carrier Air Wing Eight.
"The entire Blacklion Family is grieving the loss of two great Americans. Lt. Cmdr. Johnson and Lt. King were phenomenal young men, exceptional naval aviators, and were living models of what honor, courage and commitment really mean," Cmdr. Kevin Robb said.
Johnson graduated from the Air Force Academy in 2007 and King, a weapons systems operator, completed Naval Academy training in 2012.
"As warfighters they excelled in combat, as naval officers they exemplified the qualities of what our Navy values most dear. I was extremely proud to have led, flown and served with both Brice and Caleb," Robb said. "I would ask that during this trying time we all keep the families of our two heroes in our thoughts and prayers."
The cause of the crash is unknown.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and squadron mates of these two aviators," said Rear Adm. Roy J. Kelley.