Lt. Col. Seth “Jethro” Nehring U.S. pilot killed in Ukrainian fighter jet crash. American and Ukrainian pilot Died in Ukrainian SU-27 fighter jet crash
The pilot of a United States Air National Guard was killed Tuesday when the Ukranian Su-27UB fighter jet crashed in west-central Ukraine field, according to Ukrainian General Staff reports.
An Air Force fighter pilot, Lt. Col. Seth “Jethro” Nehring, was with the California Air National Guard’s 194th Fighter Squadron, part of the 144th Fighter Wing based in Fresno.
Nehring had been a member of the 144th for more than 20 years. He began his career as an enlisted crew chief before being selected for a pilot slot; he flew the F-16 Viper for more than 15 years and converted to the F-15 Eagle, the Air Force said.
“We are a close-knit family and when a tragedy like this occurs, every member of the 144th Fighter Wing feels it,” Col. Daniel Kelly, commander of the 144th FW, said to Fox News in a statement. “We share in the sorrow felt by Jethro’s loved ones and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends as well as those of the Ukrainian aviator.”
“This is a sad day for the United States and Ukraine,” Major General Clay Garrison, the head of the California Air National Guard and the top officer in charge of Clear Sky 2018, said in a USAFE press release. “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.”
“On behalf of all Californians, Governor Brown and First Lady Anne Gust Brown honor California Air National Guard Lt. Col. Seth ‘Jethro’ Nehring, who bravely gave his life in service to our state and nation,” the release from Governor Brown’s office read. “The Governor and First Lady extend their deepest condolences to his family and friends at this difficult time.”
Officials said Nehring and a Ukrainian pilot were killed in the crash, which took place in the Khmelnytskyi region in western Ukraine, 175 miles southwest of the capital of Kiev.
The crash took place during joint military training between the U.S. military and Ukrainian counterparts, known as Clear Sky 2018, as previously reported.
Personnel from nine nations are taking part in the exercises that started in Ukraine on Oct. 8.
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.
The U.S. and Ukrainian governments are conducting an investigation to determine the cause of the accident. More information will be released as it becomes available.
Lt. Col. Seth “Jethro” Nehring
A post on the 144th Fighter Wing’s Facebook page reads:
It’s with a heavy heart we share the news that we lost a member of our team yesterday. Lt. Col. Seth “Jethro” Nehring, assigned to the 194th Fighter Squadron, was killed yesterday in an SU-27 plane crash in Ukraine. Jethro was deployed to Ukraine for the Clear Sky 2018 exercise.
He was serving as the Operations Officer in the Joint Operations Center, meaning he was the liaison between the exercise director, Maj. Gen. Garrison and all flying operations. He was handpicked for this position due to his operational experience and long history with our unit.
Jethro has been a member of the 144th family for over 20 years. He began his career here as an enlisted crew chief before being selected for a pilot slot and flew the F-16 Viper for over 15 years and converted to the F-15 Eagle.
A loss of any kind is always difficult and our thoughts and prayers go out to Jethro’s family and friends.