Mountain Home pilot killed in F-15E crash in SW Asia identified

Mountain Home pilot killed in F-15E crash in SW Asia identified »Play Video
Capt. Francis "Piston" Imlay and his son. Photo courtesy Mountain Home AFB
BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - A pilot from Mountain Home Air Force Base has been killed in a plane crash in southwest Asia.

The base says another airman was also injured when the F-15E Strike Eagle crashed Wednesday morning about 15 miles from the unnamed military base.

On Thursday, the Department of Defense identified the pilot as Capt. Francis Dee Imlay, 31, of Vacaville, Calif.

Imlay, who went by the call sign "Piston", was assigned to the 391st Fighter Squadron "Bold Tigers".

"It is with a heavy heart I inform you we lost a valued member of the Gunfighter family yesterday," said Col. Ron Buckley, 366th Fighter Wing commander.

"Today we mourn the loss of one of our warriors, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and coworkers during this time. He was a true professional and his dedication to the Gunfighter family will not soon be forgotten."

The family of Capt. Imlay says they very much appreciate the outpouring of support they have received from their friends and community.

Capt. Imlay graduated from Lakenheath, England High School in 1998.

He joined the Air Force on June 12, 2004 after being recognized as the distinguished graduate in the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps at Auburn University, Ala.

His first assignment was as an instructor pilot at Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas.

He then began training to become an F-15E pilot at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina before being assigned to Mountain Home in October 2010.

He totaled more than 2500 hours flying time. His decorations include the Air Force Commendation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

The family says although he was a serviceman, he will be remembered most as a loving husband and father of two children, ages two and four.

The base says the cause of the crash is under investigation, but that it was not combat related.

The injured crew member was treated at a military medical facility for minor injuries.

More than 300 airmen from the base are currently deployed to southwest Asia performing contingency combat missions.

We will update this story as more details are released.

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