By Jim Garamone
Nov. 28, 2006 – The Air Force has convened an investigative board to look into the crash of an F-16 Fighting Falcon engaged in combat operations over Iraq yesterday. The board will look into what caused the F-16CG single-seat fighter to crash about 20 miles northwest of Baghdad around 1:35 p.m.
The pilot of the craft is officially listed as "duty status: whereabouts unknown," coalition spokesman Army Maj. Gen. William Caldwell said during a Baghdad news conference today.
While the cause of the crash is unknown, there is nothing to suggest that insurgents shot down the aircraft Caldwell said. The aircraft was part of the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing, at Balad Air Base, Iraq.
Air Force Brig. Gen. Stephen Hoog, air component coordination element director for Multinational Force Iraq, said the fighter was part of a "troops in contact" operation. The aircraft was under operational control of ground commanders at the time of the incident.
Hoog said officials have retrieved DNA material from the site and that it will take two to four days to analyze the material.
Immediately after the crash, other aircraft and surveillance assets were over the site, the general said. "Those assets did observe insurgents in the vicinity of the crash site," he added.
A quick-reaction force secured the area as soon as combat operations in the area finished. Hoog said officials found the ejection seat, but it wasn't possible to determine if the pilot had used the seat or not.
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