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USMC identifies pilot killed in F/A-18 Hornet crash

Fatal USMC F/A-18 crash
Illustration: US Marine Corps file photo of F/A-18 Hornets with Marine All Weather Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA(AW)) 224, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, return from a training flight.

A US Marine Corps F/A-18D Hornet belonging to Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA (AW)) 224 crashed in the vicinity of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar on August 24.

The crash occurred during a training flight and is still under investigation, according to the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW).

The service subsequently identified the pilot as Maj. Andrew Mettler, who was the only person aboard the aircraft. The VMFA(AW) 224 squadron Maj. Mettler flew with was participating in Service Level Training Exercise 5-23 at the time of the crash.

“I am deeply saddened to share the loss of Maj. Andrew ‘Simple Jack’ Mettler, a fellow Marine aviator who was honing his craft as a Hornet pilot and leader in his squadron, the Fighting Bengals. I had the great honor of flying in an F/A-18D with Simple Jack and will always remember his skill piloting the Hornet and his wry smile. It is with great humility that I offer my deepest condolences to the family, loved ones, and friends of Maj. Andrew Mettler. You remain at the forefront of our thoughts and prayers,” said 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW) Commanding General Maj. Gen. Scott Benedict.

Mettler served as an F/A-18 Hornet pilot with VMFA(AW)-224, Marine Aircraft Group (MAG) 31, 2nd MAW stationed on Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina. Mettler, from Georgia, commissioned in the Marine Corps Nov. 30, 2007. Mettler’s decorations include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with gold star in lieu of second award, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with gold star in lieu of second award, Navy Unit Commendation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korea Defense Service Medal, and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon with four bronze stars in lieu of 5th award.

​“As 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, we mourn the loss of one of our brothers who was devoted to the Marine Corps mission, and it is our duty to continue forward in a manner that would reflect his devotion. Maj. Mettler’s legacy will remain with every Marine, Sailor and civilian that he served with, and we have the obligation to continue to uphold the values that he stood for. He will be deeply missed within the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing and among his brothers and sisters at the Fighting Bengals,” said Benedict.