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DOD identifies pilot killed in F-16 crash
Capt. James Steel (left), 29, from the 77th Fighter Squadron at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., was killed April 3, 2013, when his F-16 Fighting Falcon crashed in Afghanistan after a close-air support mission. Steel, a native of Tampa, Fla., graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., in 2006. (U.S. Air Force photo/Capt. Ann Blodzinski)
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Academy grad identified in Afghanistan crash

Posted 4/5/2013   Updated 4/8/2013 Email story   Print story


4/5/2013 - SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- Air Force officials have confirmed a Shaw Air Force Base F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot was killed April 3 after his aircraft crashed in Afghanistan while returning to base from a close air support mission.

The pilot, Capt. James Steel, 29, graduated from the Air Force Academy in 2006, completed pilot training and arrived at Shaw in June 2010. He was the chief of mobility for the 77th Fighter 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 accident is currently under investigation; more details will be released as they become available.

Media inquiries should be directed to the 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs Office at 803-895-2019.

(Information compiled from Shaw Air Force Base Public Affairs and staff reports.)

4/17/2013 6:41:36 PM ET
My heart goes out to James his family friends and co workers. His loss leaves a painful void for you I know. God bless James and many thousands of others who have and continue to devote themselves to their military professions and our nations vital interests in peace and wartime.As a 4 decade pilot and 3 decade military officer and fighter air crew Ive lost several friends and co-workers in combat and peacetime. Every one of them I still miss and keenly remember. However their loss and thousands of other Americans since 1776 has never made me think their sacrifice was foolish nor pointless. Even when we have lost astronauts due to errors made in purely peaceful missions their loss and their devotion to duty is held in high esteem with many following in their pathway each day.In James everlasting memoryTC BrownColUSAFRet
TC Brown, Houston Tx
4/12/2013 9:39:56 AM ET
My prayers are with the family and friends of Capt. Steel. As a grad I know his USAFA family will miss him greatly and celebrate his life for years to come.Darren WaggonerUSAFAClass of 1982
Darren Waggoner, Studley VA
4/8/2013 6:24:44 PM ET
So sorry to hear the devastating news. James was a squadron buddy of my son Michael06. He was a great friend to Mike and a great pilot. More importantly an outstanding young man who cannot be replaced. While it is a comfort that James died doing what he loved Fighter Pilot my heart goes out to his family and friends who truly eel his loss.
George Mueller, Crystal Lake il.
4/6/2013 6:12:57 PM ET
Rest in peace Captain Steel. You were obviously one of the best.
LtCol Doug Cooper USAF retired, Lincoln CA
4/6/2013 12:43:25 AM ET
Sending heartfelt condolences to Capt. Steel's family. Our son is a 1994 USAFA grad and heading off to his second tour in Afghanistan in May. It will be a joyful and blessed day when the Blue Star flag comes down from our window. Blessings for strengh and peace to all who have lost loved ones in these foolish and pointless wars. May our leadership find the wisdom to end the needless deaths and injuries soon. God bless the USA
Steve and Riki Renfro, Vail AZ
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