The USMC has released the pilot’s name from Thursday’s single F-18C fatal crash.  The pilot was stationed at MCAS Miramar and flew with the Red Devils of VMFA-232.

The 3rd Marine Air Wing has released the name of the pilot killed. Major Richard Norton, USMC was killed in a single plane F-18C crash late Thursday night.  The crash occurred around 10:30 pm PST at Twentynine Palms, California. The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

Norton, 36, was a pilot with VMFA-232, an F-18C squadron assigned to Marine Aircraft Group 11. The F-18C departed Miramar Thursday night for a close air support (CAS) mission under an Integrated Training Exercise.

“Losing Maj. Norton is a tremendous loss to the MAG-11 Team,” Col. William Swan, MAG-11’s commanding officer, said in the news release. “He was one of the best and brightest Hornet pilots our nation had to offer — our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.”

We echo Col. Swan’s sentiments.  For all of its glory, Naval Aviation is still a tough and dangerous business.

In the coming weeks, USMC officials will analyze as much data as possible in an effort to determine the cause of the mishap–and do the best they can to ensure this type of mishap never happens again.

But first and most importantly, we must remember Major Norton and his sacrifice, along with his family, squadron mates and fellow Marines.

Major "Stranger" Norton, Photo: USMC (released)
Major “Stranger” Norton, Photo: USMC (released)

FighterSweep nation, for those interested in providing monetary support to Major Norton’s family, a donation site has been set up with the Wingman Foundation.  The Norton family has sanctioned the Wingman Foundation to collect donations in his name. You may access the portal directly here.

The Wingman Foundation was founded by three Active Duty Marine Corps aviators in late 2014. They are an all volunteer organization dedicated to honoring the sacrifices of fallen air warriors and to support the families they’ve left behind.