A Ukrainian Su-27UB fighter aircraft crashed Oct. 16 at approximately 5 p.m. local time during exercise Clear Sky 2018 in the Khmelnytskyi region, Ukraine, killing one U.S. service member and one Ukrainian service member.
The U.S. service member involved in the crash was identified as U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Seth “Jethro” Nehring, a 44-year old F-15 Eagle pilot from Fresno, California who was assigned to the California Air National Guard’s 194th Fighter Squadron, part of the 144th Fighter Wing. The Airman was taking part in a single-aircraft familiarization flight with a Ukrainian counterpart.
According to a press release by the U.S. Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa (USAFE-AFAFRICA), no other aircraft were involved in the incident.
“This is a sad day for the United States and Ukraine,” said Maj. Gen. Clay Garrison, California ANG commander and Clear Sky exercise director. “Our deepest condolences go out to the family, friends and fellow Airmen of both the U.S. Airman and Ukrainian aviator who were killed in the incident.”
Exercise Clear Sky 2018 is a joint and multinational exercise that involves approximately 950 personnel from nine nations, including Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States. This year marks the 25th anniversary of collaboration between the California ANG and Ukraine as part of U.S. European Command’s State Partnership Program.
This program has been successfully building relationships with our partners and allies in over 75 nations around the globe. The U.S. and Ukrainian governments are conducting an investigation to determine the cause of the accident.