Two U.S. Air Force airmen killed in a training jet crash at Vance Air Force Base in northwestern Oklahoma have been identified as an instructor and a student pilot.
The base said Friday that 47-year-old instructor pilot Lt. Col. John “Matt” Kincade and 23-year-old student pilot Lt. Travis Wilkie died in what Col. Corey Simmons called a “mishap” as two T-38 Talon jets were landing at the base in Enid, about 65 miles northwest of Oklahoma City.
Lt. Wilkie was from San Diego, California, and is survived by his wife, parents and sister.
“Our son Travis was born ready. His intense personal drive to achieve fueled his incredible accomplishments in academics, athletics and most recently, as an Air Force Academy graduate only weeks away from getting his wings. He made everything look effortless yet he invested great effort in everything. He had a huge smile and a humble heart. He was a great brother and great son. And he was deeply in love with his new wife Peyton. We are immensely proud of Travis and will cherish him forever," a statement from the Wilkie family read.
Kincade was assigned to the 5th Flying Training Squadron. He is survived by his wife and two sons.
Two airmen aboard the second jet were not injured.
Simmons said the cause of the Thursday morning accident is under investigation by an Air Force safety board that functions similarly to the National Transportation Safety Board.
Simmons said it typically takes 30-60 days to determine the cause of such accidents.
“We are a close-knit family, and when tragedies like this occur, every member of the U.S. military, Vance, Enid, feels it," Simmons said.