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Recent 8th Fighter Squadron graduate killed in F-16 crash

1st Lt David Schmitz (middle), receives his certificate of training during the 8th Fighter Squadron’s F-16 Basic Course graduation on Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., Dec. 14, 2019. Schmitz was killed when his F-16 crashed during a routine training mission while stationed at Shaw AFB, S.C., June 30, 2020. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christine Groening)

1st Lt David Schmitz (middle), receives his certificate of training during the 8th Fighter Squadron’s F-16 Basic Course graduation on Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., Dec. 14, 2019. Schmitz was killed when his F-16 crashed during a routine training mission while stationed at Shaw AFB, S.C., June 30, 2020. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christine Groening)

HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --

1st Lt. David Schmitz, a 2019 graduate of the F-16 Basic Course at Holloman Air Force Base, was killed in an F-16 crash on Shaw AFB, S.C., June 30, 2020.

Schmitz, who was assigned to the 8th Fighter Squadron here, graduated with 10 other F-16 student pilots, Dec. 14, 2019, and was then assigned to the 77th Fighter Squadron at Shaw AFB, S.C.

According to Shaw AFB’s releases, Schmitz was flying a routine training mission when his F-16 crashed on base around 11:30 p.m. The cause of the incident is currently under investigation.

“This is difficult news to hear for us in the fighter group,” said Col. Michael Boger, 54th Fighter Group commander. “This is a tragic reminder that aviation, and fighter aviation in particular, is a dangerous business. For me, this reemphasizes the critical role Team Holloman’s F-16 instructors play to build, teach, and lead the next generation of fighter pilots. Our hearts go out to Lt Schmitz’ family, friends, instructors, and comrades in arms.”

The F-16 B-Course is a 37-week long course required for all student pilots. On average, these students log 70 hours of flying time over 59 sorties in addition to roughly 245-hours of academic training and 69 hours of flight simulator training.