RAF LAKENHEATH, ENGLAND – After all next of kin notifications were complete, the U.S. Air Force confirmed on Tuesday morning that the pilot killed in yesterday’s F-15 crash in the North Sea was 1st Lt. Kenneth ‘Kage’ Allen from the 493rd Fighter Squadron.
1st Lt. Allen was conducting a routine training mission over the North Sea with 3 other F-15s from RAF Lakenheath, when his F-15C Eagle crashed into the North Sea on Monday morning.
Shortly after the F-15 crashed and 1st Lt. Allen was missing, HM Coastguard and RNLI lifeboats were alarmed to conduct a search and rescue operation in an attempt to recover the fighter jet and pilot.
The wreckage of the F-15 was found late in the afternoon on Monday and several hours later the body of 1st Lt Allen was recovered.
1st Lt. Allen was an assistant chief of weapons and tactics for the 493rd FS and arrived at the 48th FW in February 2020, and is survived by his wife Hannah and parents.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Lt. Allen, and mourn with his family and his fellow Reapers in the 493rd Fighter Squadron. The tremendous outpouring of love and support from our communities has been a ray of light in this time of darkness,” 48th FW Commander Col. Will Marshall said on Twitter:
The cause of the crash remains unknown, and an investigation has begun.
RAF Lakenheath is the largest USAF-operated base in England and the only U.S. Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) F-15 Fighter Wing. The 48th FW has operated from the airbase since 1960 and has more than 4,500 active-duty military members.
The 48th FW’s mission is to provide worldwide responsive combat airpower and support and is operating 3 F-15 fighter squadrons:
The 492nd FS and 494th FS are operating the F-15E Strike Eagle, while the 493rd FS is operating the F-15C/D Eagle.
The USAF has been flying with the F-15 Eagle since 1979. During the Cold War the F-15C/D was also operating for the USAFE’s 32nd Tactical Fighter Squadron, based at Soesterberg AB in The Netherlands and the 36th Fighter Wing, based at Bitburg AB in Germany. The U.S. decided to close these USAFE Air Bases in 1994, due to the ending of the Cold War in 1991.
The last Lakenheath F-15 crashed October 8, 2014. The F-15D crashed in fields near Spalding in Lincolnshire, England.
The fighter jet went into a flat spin at 15,000ft during a training exercise with another F-15D. The pilot ejected safely and there were no injuries on the ground.
(Head photo: USAF Tech. Sgt. Matthew Plew)