Lt. Charles Z. Walker
Lt. Charles Z. Walker

33-year-old Navy lieutenant killed in Death Valley Super Hornet crash

by Corey Dickstein
Stars and Stripes

WASHINGTON — A 33-year-old Navy lieutenant was killed Wednesday when the F/A-18E Super Hornet fighter jet that he was piloting through a Death Valley canyon crashed into a ravine wall at high speed, Navy officials said Friday.

The service identified the pilot as Lt. Charles Z. Walker from Strike Fighter Squadron 151, also known as the Vigilantes, which is based at Naval Air Station Lemoore in California. Walker was described as an “incredible naval aviator,” a son and a husband by the commander of Strike Fighter Wing Pacific, Navy Capt. James Bates.

“He was an integral member of the Vigilante family and his absence will be keenly felt on this flight line,” Bates said in a statement released Friday afternoon. “Our aviators understand the risk associated with this profession, and they knowingly accept it in service to our nation. The untimely loss of a fellow aviator and shipmate pains us all. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family and friends.”

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