A Father-To-Be, Lost at Sea

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Captain Lucas Gruenther

You see enough notices and stories about the deaths of young American military men and women, in combat or elsewhere, that your mind sometimes searches for certain words – or the lack of them – while reading them.

Thursday’s announcement about the night-time training death of a 32-year-old U.S. Air Force F-16 pilot in the Adriatic Sea sadly falls into that category.

An accompanying release from Captain Lucas Gruenther’s family says the 2003 Air Force Academy graduate was “a compassionate husband, a loving son, and a devoted brother.”

Amid such sorrow, is it wrong to feel relief at the missing word — “father” — in that passage?

Alas, a quick Google search reveals that his wife, Cassy, is expecting their first child in several weeks.

R.I.P., Captain Gruenther. Thank you.

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Maj. Luc Gruenther was an exceptional person in every way. I know that it's almost required to say that in a memorial testimony, but Luc was the Real Deal. He gave me faith in the future of the military, as well as in the Next Generation. He was everything good and positive that we hope our children will be. Hopefully, his friends from around the world and here in his hometown will be inspired to invest in themselves and their communities and "Live Like Luc."  I wish you could have known him. I wish I could have known him better.


There are five other "people listening" right now but no other comments. I grieve for Captain  Gruenther and I don't want this to happen again. It shouldn't happen again, damn it. What say you?


Below: "Sadly, that doesn't change even if you're an experienced pilot; you still find yourself thinking you're going up when you're going down."

Really, come on, this is stupid. With multi-million dollar aircraft, and valuable people on the sticks, or whatever the jet-jockeys call them,  they can't devise some way to tell the low-level night-flying pilot that he's losing altitude? 

In the army we basically only had two dimensions to worry about and that was enough. Somebody (me) should remind the Air Force that they have three. Get with it guys, this situation is NOT ACCEPTABLE.


The Aviationist report

. . . the pilot missing since Jan. 28. . .On Jan. 30, a parachute possibly belonging to the missing pilot was found in the water 15 km off Cervia. . on. 31, 2013 7.00 GMT The body of Capt. Gruenther was found in the Adriatic Sea.

comment by Auroranexus --
I trust in the ACES II, but this may have been a case of spacial disorientation in the dark, which means he probably wouldn't of been aware that he's descending until a very low altitude. Sadly, that doesn't change even if you're an experienced pilot; you still find yourself thinking you're going up when you're going down.

Depending on the angle of attack(I'd expect it was low, maybe -30 degrees) and airspeed (probably crusing, maybe 400-500 knots) the ACES II would only need 300-400 feet. The problem is how long it would've taken him to figure out his altitude and eject, and with that much momentum, it could have caused issues.
(ACES II is an ejection seat system)

"You still find yourself thinking you're going up when you're going down?" Shouldn't there be a warning buzzer for this?


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