Navy officials have identified the two aviators killed March 14 when their F/A-18F Super Hornet crashed on final approach to Naval Air Station Key West in Florida.
Lt. Cmdr. James Brice Johnson and Lt. Caleb Nathaniel King were killed in the crash. Both were assigned to the “Blacklions” of Strike Fighter Squadron 213, based at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia.
The pilot, Johnson, was a naval aviator and 2007 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy. He was at the jet’s controls at the time of the mishap.
King, a 2012 U.S. Naval Academy graduate, was flying in the rear seat as the weapons systems operator.
“The entire Blacklion family is grieving the loss of two great Americans,” said VFA-213’s Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Kevin Robb. “Lt. Cmdr. Johnson and Lt. King were phenomenal young men, exceptional naval aviators, and were living models of what honor, courage, and commitment really mean.
“As warfighters they excelled in combat,” Robb added. “As naval officers they exemplified the qualities of what our Navy values most dear. I was extremely proud to have led, flown, and served with both Brice and Caleb.”
Mark D. Faram is a former reporter for Navy Times. He was a senior writer covering personnel, cultural and historical issues. A nine-year active duty Navy veteran, Faram served from 1978 to 1987 as a Navy Diver and photographer.