U.S. Air Force Identifies Pilots Killed, Injured in T-38C Talon Jet Trainer Crash

The U.S. Air Force has identified the pilots involved in the T-38C Talon jet trainer crash at the Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, on Nov. 13, 2018. One pilot was killed in the crash and one was injured.

The deceased, Capt. John F. Graziano, 28, was an instructor pilot with the 87th Flying Training Squadron at Laughlin AFB. He was from Elkridge, Maryland and is survived by his mother, father, sisters and brother.

Injured was Capt. Mark S. Palyok, an instructor pilot, also with the 87th FTS. He was transported to Val Verde Regional Medical Center where he was treated for his injuries. He was treated and released Nov.14.

“Knowing how everyone is effected by this tragedy, my immediate concern is making sure that every member of our Laughlin family is okay,” said Col. Lee Gentile, 47th Flying Training Wing commander. “Together, we are Laughlin and now is the time that we stand together to take care of one another.”

The incident occurred at about 7:40 p.m. on Laughlin. The cause of the incident is under investigation, said a statement released by the Laughlin AFB.

“Our investigators are doing everything possible to ensure they investigate this incident to the fullest.” said Gentile.

The 87th Flying Training Squadron prepares student pilots and Airmen for multi-domain operations. It conducts specialized undergraduate pilot training for the U.S. Air Force (USAF), Air Force Reserve (AFRC), Air National Guard (ANG) and allied nation’s air forces.

The Nov. 13 is the fifth Talon crash in the past 12 months.

In the last incident, that occurred on Sept. 11 this year, the aircraft crashed after it departed the runway prior to takeoff from Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas.

On Aug. 17, a Talon II from Vance Air Force Base in Oklahoma crashed 70 miles west of Enid, Oklahoma. On May. 23, a USAF Talon jet crashed in a remote area near the Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi. In both the crashes, the pilots ejected safely.

The last fatal crash of a Talon was in November last year in which one of the pilots was killed when the aircraft crashed near the Laughlin Air Force Base.

Northrop T-38 Talon is a two-seat, twinjet supersonic jet trainer. It was the world’s first supersonic trainer and is also the most produced.

The T-38 remains in service with several air forces. The aircraft has been in service for over 50 years with its original operator, the U.S. Air Force. Pilots of other NATO nations fly the T-38 in joint training programs with USAF pilots.

In addition to training USAF pilots, the T-38 is used by NASA. The U.S. Naval Test Pilot School is the principal U.S. Navy operator (other T-38s were previously used as USN aggressor aircraft until replaced by the similar Northrop F-5 Tiger II).

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