NC Air Force jet crashes, 2 dead

July 19, 2009 4:26:00 PM PDT
Officials said an Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle assigned to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base crashed around 3:15 a.m. Kabul time on Saturday in eastern Afghanistan. That was around 6:15 p.m. EDT Friday evening.They said at the time of the accident, the aircraft was performing coalition operations. Officials said they believed the crash was not caused by hostile fire.

Both crewmembers inside the jet were killed in the crash.

On Sunday, officials identified the members as Capt. Thomas J. Gramith, 27, of Eagan, Minn. and Capt. Mark R. McDowell, 26, of Colorado Springs, Colo.

The men were assigned to the 336th Fighter Squadron, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to their families and loved ones...and to the Airmen and the Joint and Coalition team members who called them friends and will miss their fellow warriors," said Lt. Gen. Gary North, Commander U.S. Air Forces Central.

Authorities said a board of officers is investigating the accident.

Further details about the incident are also not being released at this time.