It was June 2009 and myself and members of the 34th Fighter Squadron “Rude Rams” at Hill AFB Utah had just finished our night flight training over the UTTR (Utah Test and Training Range) due west of Salt Lake City. As we exited the range our sister squadron the 421st Fighter Squadron “Black Widows,” also from Hill AFB, were entering the range for their training time. It was about ten o’clock at night.

Shortly thereafter, during our debriefings that evening, we learned of the horrible news. The 421st had lost a pilot and an aircraft over the range.

It was discovered that Capt. George “Ice” Houghton had perished, he was 28 years old at the time. Later, the accident investigation revealed that Ice was attempting a fairly routine high angle strafe pass at the time of the accident. He was wearing NVGs as we all did, and pointed the nose of the aircraft down steeply, accelerated to over 450 knots and executed a textbook night strafe attack.

What he didn’t do, was pull up in time.