NAVAL AIR STATION LEMOORE, Calif. (April 7, 2011)- Lt. Matthew Ira Lowe, 33, and Lt. Nathan Hollingsworth Williams, 28, were killed Wednesday during a training mission when the F/A-18F Super Hornet they were flying crashed in an agricultural field near Naval Air Station (NAS) Lemoore.
Lowe, from Plantation, Fla., received his commission through Officer Candidate School on Feb. 21, 2003. He reported to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 122 on July 9, 2009. He was designated a pilot following naval aviation training from November 2002 until July 2006. Following training he was assigned to VFA-94 based at NAS Lemoore. During his career he earned the Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal and the National Defense Service Medal.
Williams, of Oswego, New York, received his commission through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps at the University of Rochester in New York on May 28, 2004. He reported to VFA-122 on Jan. 25, 2010. He was designated a Naval Flight Officer following training from August 2004 through Februrary 2007. His first squadron assignment was with VFA-213 based in Norfolk, Va. During his career he earned the Air Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment ribbon and Pistol Marksmanship Medal.
Naval Flight Officers (NFOs) operate some of the advanced systems on board certain multi-crew naval aircraft, and serve as the weapon systems officers. NFOs are not formally trained to pilot the aircraft, although they do train in dual-control aircraft and are given the opportunity to practice basic airmanship techniques.
The Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet is a supersonic, all-weather carrier-capable multi-role fighter jet, designed to dogfight and attack ground targets. The fighter's primary missions are fighter escort, fleet air defense, suppression of enemy air defenses, air interdiction, close air support and aerial reconnaissance. Its versatility and reliability have proven to be a valuable aircraft carrier asset. The first Super Hornet was delivered to the Navy in December 1998.
A Navy aircraft mishap review board has convened at NAS Lemoore to investigate the cause of the crash.