F-16 Fighter Jet Flown by Oklahoma AG Candidate's Son Crashes in Louisiana; Pilot Ejects Safely

An F-16 Tulsa Viper pilot taxies for flight.
An F-16 Tulsa Viper pilot taxies for flight during a Sentry Aloha exercise Aug. 26, 2019, at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. C.T. Michael)

An F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jet piloted by the son of a candidate to be the Oklahoma attorney general crashed in rural Louisiana on Wednesday during a training exercise.

Gentner Drummond, a former Air Force captain and Republican seeking the top law office in the Sooner State, said in a Facebook post that the plane was flown by his son, Alexander, a captain in the Oklahoma Air National Guard who ejected prior to the crash.

"I am thankful today that God was watching over my son," Drummond wrote. "Some of you may recall that Alexander is a fighter pilot, just like I was as a young man. This morning, he had to do something I never did: eject from his F-16 before it crashed."

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The F-16 belonged to the Tulsa Vipers, part of the Oklahoma Air National Guard's 138th Fighter Wing.

A statement from the Oklahoma Air National Guard said the pilot was taking part in a routine training mission out of Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base, Texas. 

Around 11:15 a.m. local time, Louisiana State Police in Beauregard Parish received reports that a plane had crashed in a wooded area about 150 miles from the Texas base.

Derek Senegal, with Louisiana State Police Troop D, said the pilot was safe and had been retrieved by military personnel from Fort Polk, Louisiana, a nearby Army base.

"The pilot was able to eject but was transported back to Fort Polk for medical evaluation," Senegal told Military.com.

Senegal added that there was no smoke and no fire when the plane crashed.

Lt. Col. Geoffrey J. Legler, a spokesman with the Oklahoma Military Department, said in a statement there were no civilian casualties on the ground.

"Air Force and civilian emergency first responders immediately responded to the scene of the crash and have no reported injuries at this time," Legler said in the statement.

Drummond said his son is receiving medical care and is expected to make a full recovery.

"When you serve in the military, you put your life on the line day-in and day-out -- whether our country is at war or not," Drummond wrote. "As an American, I thank my son for his service and his commitment to fighting for our freedom."

Wednesday's crash is the latest training incident involving a fighter jet on U.S. soil.

Last month, a Mirage F1 fighter jet from Luke Air Force Base in Arizona crashed in the desert not far from a retirement community.

Earlier this month, a Marine F-18 Hornet crashed and exploded at a former South Carolina governor's family plantation.

-- Thomas Novelly can be reached at thomas.novelly@military.com. Follow him on Twitter @TomNovelly.

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