Oklahoma Air National Guard F-16 Crashes Near Army Base in Louisiana

by Suzanne Halliburton
George Wilson Foto/DeFodi images via Getty Images

An Air Force F-16 from the Oklahoma Air National Guard crashed near a Louisiana Army base, Wednesday. The pilot, the only one on board, ejected to safety.

Rescuers quickly found the pilot, identified as Alexander Drummond, and reported that he suffered no serious injuries.

“The pilot was able to eject safely from the plane and was later picked up by the military personnel,” Louisiana State Police spokesman Derek Senegalhe told The Advocate.

Oklahoma Air National Guard Crash At a Glance

  • An F-16 fighter jet crashed near Fort Polk Army Base.
  • The pilot is with the 138th Fighter Wing of the Oklahoma National Guard
  • He was identified as 32-year-old Alexander Drummond
  • Drummond took off from Ellington Field Joint Reserve Air Force Base near Houston.

Fort Polk spokesperson Kavanaugh Breazeale said the pilot was transported to the on-base hospital. Base personnel secured the crash site. The crash occurred just before noon in a wooded area of Beauregard Parish in southwestern Louisiana. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

The pilot is with the 138th Fighter Wing of the Oklahoma Air National Guard. He took off from Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base near Houston. His assignment was a “routine” training mission. Members of the Oklahoma National Guard are there to participate in a joint mission for domestic and international threat protection.

Pilot’s Dad Is a Republican Candidate for Oklahoma AG

The 138th Fighter Wing is based in Tulsa, Okla. The Oklahoman identified the pilot as the son of Gentner Drummond, a Republican candidate for state attorney general. Alexander Drummond, 32, is a major in the Oklahoma National Guard. His father also was an Air Force pilot, flying missions in the 1991 Gulf War.

Gentner Drummond issued a statement to the media. He said:

“What I know at this point is that during a training run over Louisiana, Alexander had to ditch his F-16 in an empty Beauregard Parish field, sparing any injuries on the ground. When you serve in the military, you put your life on the line day-in and day-out – whether our country is at war or not. As an American, I thank my son for his service and his commitment to fighting for our freedom.”

The father added: “God was watching over Alexander today, and I am so thankful for his safety and well-being.”

The Air Force began using the F-16 fighter jet in the mid-70s. It’s in service in 26 countries around the world.

After the Vietnam War, a group known as “the fighter mafia” pushed for the military to use a different kind of plane than the F-4 Phantom II. The group of pilots and civilian defense analysts wanted the Air Force to use a lighter aircraft. The F-16 fit the bill. It was fast, capable of flying at twice the speed of sound. It could also carry 17,000 pounds of air-to-air missiles.