Air Force lists downed pilot as killed in action - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Air Force lists downed pilot as killed in action

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Posted: Sunday, December 3, 2006 2:08 pm | Updated: 2:25 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - An American pilot was officially listed as killed in action after his F-16 crashed in Iraq last week, the U.S. Air Force announced on Sunday.

Maj. Troy L. Gilbert's fighter jet crashed on Monday north of Baghdad. His identity was confirmed through DNA analysis of remains recovered at the crash site 20 miles (32.2 kilometers) northwest of the Iraqi capital, the Air Force said.

Gilbert, 34, died flying an air mission to support troops fighting in Anbar province, where many of the country's Sunni-Arab insurgent groups operate.

Video footage obtained by Associated Press Television News appeared to show the wreckage of the F-16CG in a farm field and a tangled parachute nearby.

U.S. forces investigating the crash have said insurgents reached the site before American forces could.

Air Force spokesman Lt. Col. John Paradis declined to say whether Gilbert's body had been recovered, saying only that some remains had been found.

The cause of the crash is under investigation. Officials don't believe Gilbert was shot down.

Gilbert was listed as "duty status whereabouts unknown" until the Armed Forces Medical Examiner made the DNA match on Saturday, the Air Force said.

"Our thoughts and prayers remain with the Gilbert family as they grieve the loss of a husband, father, son, son-in-law and Air Force warrior-patriot," said Lt. Gen. Gary North, the top U.S. Air Force commander in the Iraq and Afghanistan theaters, in a written statement.

Gilbert, who finished undergraduate pilot training in 2001, was deployed to the 332nd Expeditionary Wing at Balad Air Force Base in Iraq in September and logged more than 130 combat hours, the Air Force said.

He planned to attend U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Ft. Leavenworth next year, once he returned from Iraq, Paradis said.

"He's someone we all knew here," Paradis said. "A great guy, great pilot."

He is survived by his wife and five children who live outside of Phoenix, Arizona.

Gilbert had been assigned to 309th Fighter Squadron at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona since 2003 and was assistant director of operations, executive officer of wing flying, a flight commander and chief of training.

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