Weekend flyover planned to honor fallen F-16 pilot

MADISON, Wis. — The Wisconsin National Guard is planning a flyover this weekend as part of a memorial service for an F-16 pilot who died in a plane crash in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan late last year.

Maj. Durwood “Hawk” Jones of the 115th Fighter Wing died when his F-16 based in Madison crashed during a night flight over the woods of the Upper Peninsula in December. Search teams found his body two days later. A “hero’s welcome” was held for Jones about a month later when his remains returned to Madison from Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

This weekend’s flyover salute will happen over Truax Field at 11:30 a.m. Saturday during a memorial service, with F-16s from the 115th Fighter Wing’s 176th Fighter Squadron and F-15s from the Oregon Air National Guard’s 123rd Fighter Squadron. The Wisconsin National Guard says the 123rd Fighter Squadron is taking part in solidarity, as Jones’ brother is an F-15 pilot in the unit.

The units will fly the “missing man” formation over the memorial service. Four jets will fly in a “v” formation before the flight leader pulls up and out of the formation, leaving an empty space to honor Jones and repesenting his departure to the heavens. Two of the jets will carry U.S. flags in their cockpits in Jones’ memory. After the ceremony, the flags will be presented to his children in honor of his service.

The memorial service will be a private event for the 115th Fighter Wing personnel and family members, but the flyover will be streamed live on the 115th Fighter Wing’s Facebook page and will be visible in the sky near Truax Field.