Wednesday, April 6, 2011
(CNN) -- Two crew members on a routine training flight were killed Wednesday when an F/A-18F aircraft crashed near Naval Air Station Lemoore in central California, the U.S. Navy said.
Capt. James Knapp, commanding officer of the station, told reporters the plane, assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 122, crashed at 12:08 p.m. PT (3:08 p.m. ET) in a private farm field about one half mile west of the property line.
The crash of the two-seat strike fighter, which occurred southwest of Fresno, is under investigation, Knapp said.
The names of the Super Hornet crew, a pilot and weapons system operator, were being withheld pending notification of next of kin.
"I ask that you have your thoughts and prayers for the families, friends and shipmates of these two fine Naval officers," Knapp said. "That you remember they represent the very best of this nation."
An active-duty mechanic not authorized to speak on behalf of the Navy told CNN he witnessed the incident.
He heard the jet flying and suddenly "it got really quiet," he said. The F/A-18F pilot apparently tried to bank left and pull up when the plane crashed into a field, he said. "We didn't see any seats punch out."
The F/A-18 Hornet, an all-weather aircraft, is used as an attack aircraft as well as a fighter, according to the Navy.
The U.S. Navy flew EA-18 Growlers, which are special versions of the F/A-18 fighter designed to jam enemy electronic signals, in the early phase of the no-fly-zone operation imposed upon the Libyan military of Col. Moammar Gadhafi, according to the Navy.
Posted by Steve Douglass at 1:25 PM
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has appealed directly to President Barack Obama to halt what the Libyan leader called "an unjust war," and wished Obama good luck in his bid for re-election next year.
In a rambling, three-page letter to Obama obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press, Gadhafi implored Obama to stop the NATO-led air campaign, which the Libyan called an "unjust war against a small people of a developing country."
"You are a man who has enough courage to annul a wrong and mistaken action," Gadhafi wrote in the letter that was sent to the State Department and forwarded immediately to the White House, according to a U.S. official who has seen the letter. "I am sure that you are able to shoulder the responsibility for that."
"To serving world peace ... Friendship between our peoples ... and for the sake of economic, and security cooperation against terror, you are in a position to keep Nato (NATO) off the Libyan affair for good," Gadhafi wrote.
READ THE REST OF THE STORY HERE AT AP.
Posted by Steve Douglass at 12:31 PM