By Gina Yarbrough
Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, CA–A U.S. Marine pilot who died Thursday night in an F/A-18D Hornet crash during a training flight in the vicinity of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar has been identified as Maj. Andrew Mettler.
Mettler was assigned to Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA(AW)) 224. The squadron was participating in Service Level Training Exercise 5-23.
The crash was reported to military officials at around 11:54 p.m. at the air station.
Search and rescue recovered the pilot who was confirmed dead at the crash site. He was the only person aboard the aircraft.
“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 in a statement.
Mettler served as an F/A-18 Hornet pilot with VMFA(AW)-224, Marine Aircraft Group (MAG) 31, 2nd MAW stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina. Mettler, from Georgia, was commissioned in the Marine Corps on 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.
The crash is under investigation.