A United States Air Force pilot was killed when his Lockheed-Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon crashed at approximately 2300 EST last night. The aircraft experienced a problem shortly after takeoff and was attempting to return to base when the crash occurred. It is unknown at this time if the pilot attempted to eject prior to the crash.

This incident has been classified as a “non-combat” loss and the aircraft did not go down in Iraq or Syria. Even so, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) did state the aircraft had just taken off for a strike against ISIS targets. CENTCOM declined to say where the crash occurred because of “political sensitivity” toward the host nation.

The death of the pilot, whose name has been withheld notification of next of kin, is the first involving a fixed-wing aircraft since Operation Inherent Resolve began on August 8.

Updated 12/2/2014:

The Department of Defense has confirmed that thirty-year-old Captain William H. “Pyro” Dubois died while attempting to return to his operating base in the middle east. His Block 50 F-16CJ had experienced mechanical problems shortly after takeoff. Dubois, a native of New Castle, Colorado and graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder, was assigned to the 77 FS “Gamblers” and stationed at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina.

He is survived by his wife.

Photo courtesy of Facebook
Photo courtesy of Facebook

“Losing Captain Dubois is sad and tragic,” said Col. Stephen F. Jost, 20th Fighter Wing commander.  “Our most sincere condolences go out to his family, friends and squadron members during this difficult time. Captain Dubois was a patriot who was willing to put his life on the line every day in service to his nation. He was a valued Airman, pilot and friend of those he touched here at Team Shaw and who deployed with him.  He will be greatly missed.”

The cause of the accident remains under investigation.