A U.S.A.F. instructor pilot and a Japan Air Self-Defense Force (ASDF) trainee died in a T-38 crash at Dannelly Field near Montgomery, Alabama, on Friday during a training exercise.
Japan’s Ministry of Defense said the deceased ASDF officer was a first lieutenant in his 20s. This is the first fatal crash involving an ASDF member training in the United States.
The pilots were on the first leg of a two-leg, overnight training mission when the crash occurred. It remains unclear which of the two was piloting the plane and the cause of the crash was not immediately clear.
The ministry said the ASDF member belonged to an air training unit attached to the Hamamatsu air base in Shizuoka Prefecture and had been in the U.S. for about two years to earn a pilot’s license.
The T-38 trainer aircraft was assigned to the 14th Flying Training Wing at the base. The wing specializes in undergraduate pilot training.