The Fayetteville Observer reports that 62-year-old retired Col. Virgil Thomas Deal Jr. died in the Sunday crash near Parkton.
Deal had served as command surgeon of Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida and was commander of the Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
Deal died when his small plane, a Piper PA-28 Cherokee, crashed in the woods. He was alone in the aircraft, which had left from Summerville, S.C.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.