Air Force Captain James Steel
(Michael Ammons/U.S. Air Force/Getty Images)
KABUL, AFGHANISTAN (WLTX, AP) -
UPDATE: The Department Of Defense announced today that Capt. James Michael Steel, 29, of Tampa, FL, and a member of the 77th Fighter Squadron at Shaw AFB, died April 3rd in a wreck near Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan.
Captain Steel was a 2006 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, and arrived at Shaw in June of 2010. Captain Steel was the chief of mobility for the 77th Flight Squadron.
"Our condolences and prayers are with the family, friends and squadron members of Capt. Steel," said Col. Clay Hall, 20th Fighter Wing commander. "This is a difficult time for Shaw AFB, but we are focused on taking care of the Steel family, our Airmen and continuing to execute the mission."
The crash is still under investigation.
Congressman Mick Mulvaney released the following statement:
"I pause to recognize, thank, and honor Capt. James Steel, from the 77th Fighter Squadron of Shaw Air Force Base, who lost his life in Afghanistan Thursday. Capt. Steel laid his life down Thursday so we can live freely in the greatest country in the world. Though no words can ease their pain, my thoughts and prayers are with Capt. Steel's family, friends , and loved ones, as well as those in the Shaw Air Force Base community."
An F-16 pilot from Shaw Air Force Base has died after his fighter jet crashed in Afghanistan.
The pilot's body has been recovered, and the crash site has been secured. The crash is under investigation, but so far there were no reports of insurgent activity in the area at the time.
Air Force officials at Shaw tell us they will be releasing the information Friday. But sources confirm with News19 the officer involved was a pilot stationed at Shaw Air Force base.
The 77th fighter squadron, known as the Gamblers, is serving a 6-month deployment to Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. That group includes pilots, administrative staffers, mechanics and technicians.
The pilots' primary job in Afghanistan is to provide close-air support for U.S. and coalition troops on the ground.