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Published: Friday, 6/15/2007

Toledo-based F-16 fighter pilot believed to be dead after crash in Iraq

A fighter pilot from Toledo's 180th Fighter Wing, Ohio Air National Guard, is believed to be dead after a crash while flying an F-16 today during a close-air-support mission in Iraq. Steve Fought, a spokesman for Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur's office said, "It is believed the pilot died in the crash."

F-16 F-16

Mark Wayda, director of government public affairs for the Ohio Air National Guard confirmed the crash, saying the name of the pilot was not yet known.

"We do know that it was part of the 180th group that is in Iraqi Freedom," Mr. Wayda said.

Mr. Wayda said no one else was aboard the jet.

The crash occured 35 miles north of Baghdad, Mr. Wayda said.

Lt. Col. Carole Allan, executive officer for the 180th, said the pilot is from the Toledo Express base but the aircraft is from Tulsa, Ariz.

Last month, 330 members of the 180th Fighter Wing of the Ohio Air National Guard, which is based at Toledo Express Airport, were deployed to Iraq for what was to be a 45 day deployment.

The cause of the accident is under investigation, military officials said.

The plane was deployed to the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing, whose headquarters are at an air base near Balad, about 50 miles north of Baghdad.

Read more in later editions The Blade and toledoblade.com

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