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Navy identifies 2 airmen killed in F/A-18 jet crash off Key West

The U.S. Navy identified Lt. Cmdr. James, Brice Johnson, left, and Lt. Caleb, Nathaniel King, as the pilots who died in an F/a-18 jet crash Wednesday in Key West, Florida.

The U.S. Navy has identified the two pilots who died Wednesday after their F/A-18F Super Hornet jet crashed off the coast of Key West, Florida.

The pilots, identified as Lt. Cmdr. James, Brice Johnson and Lt. Caleb, Nathaniel King, who served in the “Blacklions” of Strike Fighter Squadron Two One Three (VFA-213), the Naval Air Force Atlantic said in a press release on Thursday.

“The whole of the Blacklion Family mourns the loss of two great Americans. Lt. Cmdr. Johnson and Lt. King was a phenomenal young men, exceptional Marine Aviators, and were living models of Honor, Courage and Commitment really mean,” said VFA-213 commanding officer, Cmdr. Kevin Robb.

U.S. Navy personnel responded to the F/A-18 Super Hornet that crashed on the approach to the Naval Air Station Key West in Florida on Wednesday.

(Rob O’neal/The Key West Citizen via AP)

Johnson was a pilot jet, while the King served as the weapons systems of the operator, the Navy said.

King also played inside linebacker for the football team of the U. S. Naval Academy from 2009 to 2011, who in 38 games, the Capital Gazette of Annapolis, Md., reported.

On their final approach to the Boca Chica Field at Naval Air Station Key West, the pilots ejected from the twin-jet engine, which crashed around 4:30 a.m. A source told Fox News that the jet was flying back on one engine when it lost the other at low altitude.

Former Naval Academy football player Caleb, the King killed in a fighter crash. @BWagner_CapGaz https://t.co/08QygnlKZV pic.twitter.com/eOjbALIxq4

— Capital Gazette (@capgaznews) March 15, 2018

“As the military, they excelled in combat, as Marine Officers, they exemplified the qualities of what our Navy values most dear,” Robb said. “I was very proud to have led, flown, and served with both Brice and Caleb.”

“As the military, they excelled in combat, as Marine Officers, they exemplified the qualities of what our Navy values most dear. I was extremely proud to have led, flown, and served with both Brice and Caleb.”

– The Navy of the V. S. Cmdr. Kevin Robb, VFA-213, the commander

Johnson and King, both Florida residents, graduate of the U. S. Air Force Academy in 2007 and 2012, respectively. They were based at Naval Air Station Oceana and assigned to Carrier Air Wing Eight.

According to the Navy, the declaration of the Super Hornet remains in the water at the crash site, while an Accident Investigation Board continues its investigation.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and squadron mates of these two pilots,” said Rear Adm. Roy J. Kelley, Commander of the Naval Air Force Atlantic. “A full investigation will be conducted to discover the cause of this accident.”

Fox News’ Nicole Darrah and Lucas Tomlinson contributed to this report.

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