Fresno Airman Killed In Ukraine Plane Crash Identified

Lt. Col Seth Nehring (image courtesy of the 144th Fighter Wing)

FRESNO (KMJ) — The airman from Fresno’s 144th Fighter Wing who was killed in a plane crash in Ukraine has been officially identified. Lt. Col. Seth “Jethro” Nehring died with Ukranian pilot Col. Ivan Petrenko during what was described as a routine familiarization training flight.

The two airmen were in a Ukrainian SU-27UB fighter aircraft as part of Exercise Clear Sky 2018. The October 16th crash killed both pilots and both the U.S. and Ukrainian governments are conducting an investigation to determine the cause.

An Sukhoi Su-27UB taking off in 2011 (image courtesy of Oleg Belyakov)

“We are a close-knit family and when a tragedy like this occurs, every member of the 144th Fighter Wing feels it,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Daniel Kelly, commander of the 144th Fighter Wing.

“We share in the sorrow felt by Jethro’s loved ones and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends as well as those of the Ukrainian aviator.”

A statement released by the 144th Fighter Wing said Nehring had been with the squadron for more than 20 years. He was deployed to Ukraine as the operations officer due to his more than two decades experience piloting both F-16 Fighting Falcon and F-15 Eagle aircraft.

Governor Jerry Brown has ordered that flags be flown at half-staff over the State Capitol, and announced that he will send a letter of condolence to Lt. Col. Nehring’s family.

Hear the report from KMJ’s Dominic McAndrew as it aired: