Local News

Fairchild personnel assist with Prowler crash recovery

Navy identifies aviators killed in crash

ODESSA, Wash. - Military personnel from Fairchild Air Force Base joined in the search for wreckage in Lincoln County at the site of Monday's fatal crash of a Navy EA-6B Prowler.

The Prowler, assigned to VAQ-129 out of Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, went down Monday morning just before 9 a.m. while on a training exercise. The crash occurred between Harrington and Odessa. Three aviators were killed in the crash.

Around 100 airmen from Fairchild Air Force Base were at the crash site Tuesday assisting in everything from mapping debris to making sure the three aviators killed in the crash were accounted for in a dignified manner.

Walking shoulder to shoulder through the stubble field, airmen walked across the quarter mile debris field that encompasses the crash site where the Prowler went down Monday.

"It's going to take the crews here the better part of today to cover it," Lt. Col. Patrick Obruba, commander of the 92nd Civil Engineering Squadron at Fairchild Air Force Base said.

Prowler crash recovery operation

The Navy confirmed Monday three aviators lost their lives in the accident. Their families were notified while Fairchild airmen made sure the Navy personnel were collected from the crash site in the proper manner.

"The personnel recovery typically takes a couple of days so we'll be working through that for the next day or two," Obruba said.

The crash left a sizable crater; searchers are using GPS to mark key pieces of the jet found in the field around the crash site.

"All the while we are doing this we are documenting everything to make sure that the investigators who are going to try and piece this together to try and tell us what happened have all the data they need," Obruba said.

Once the collection of the aviators is complete the pieces of the plane will be collected with some being moved to other facilities for a closer inspection. Since Fairchild Air Force base is the closest military installation the task falls on them.

"[We'll] take care of the remains of the crew that was lost and make sure that happens in a dignified fashion and supporting the navy fully in their investigation," Obruba said.

Late Tuesday afternoon the US Navy identified the three aviators killed in the EA-6B Prowler crash. The aviators killed in the crash were:

FlyNavy tweet casualty ID

Lieutenant Junior Grade Valerie Cappelaere Delaney, 26
Naval Aviator
Ellicott City, Md.

Lieutenant Junior Grade William Brown McIlvaine III, 24
Naval Flight Officer
El Paso, Texas

Lieutenant Commander Alan A Patterson, 34
Naval Flight Officer
Tullahoma, Tenn.