Air Force IDs N.C.-based officers killed in jet crash

FROM STAFF REPORTSJuly 20, 2009 

U.S. Air Force officials have identified a pilot and weapons officer killed in the crash Friday of a strike fighter in Afghanistan.

Capt. Thomas J. Gramith, 27, of Eagan, Minn., and Capt. Mark R. McDowell, 26, of Colorado Springs, Colo., died in the crash of the F-15E Strike Eagle, a two-seat fighter-bomber version of the frontline aircraft. McDowell was the pilot of the aircraft, and Gramith was the rear-seat weapons officer.

Their plane was not under enemy fire at the time of the crash, said U.S. Air Force Lt. Matt Schroff. Both men were assigned to the 336th Fighter Squadron at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base near Goldsboro. The incident is still under investigation, Schroff said.

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