Air Force Identifies Guard Pilot Killed In Ukraine Crash

KIEV, Ukraine -- The Air Force on Wednesday identified the American pilot killed in a crash of a Ukrainian Su-27 aircraft as Lt. Col. Seth “Jethro” Nehring, of the California Air National Guard.

Then-Capt. Seth Nehring prepares himself for a mission in an F-16 Fighting Falcon during operation Cooperative Cope Thunder at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, in this July 2004 photo. Nehring was killed this week along with a Ukrainian pilot when an Su-27 aircraft crashed during an exercise in Ukraine.

A Ukrainian pilot, Col. Ivan Petrenko, was also killed in Tuesday’s crash, the Air Force said.

Petrenko was deputy commander of the East Air, chief of aviation, from Ozern Air Base in Zhytomer, Ukraine.

Nehring was a fighter pilot with the California Guard’s 194th Fighter Squadron, part of the 144th Fighter Wing out of Fresno.

He served with the 144th for 20 years, the Air Force said, beginning his career as an enlisted crew chief before being selected for a pilot slot and becoming an officer.

He flew the F-16 Viper for 15 years and later switched to the F-15 Eagle.

"We are a close-knit family, and when a tragedy like this occurs, every member of the 144th Fighter Wing feels it,” Col. Daniel Kelly, commander of the 144th, said in the release.

“We share in the sorrow felt by Jethro’s loved ones, and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends, as well as those of the Ukrainian aviator.”

Source: AirForceTimes