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Thursday, September 29, 2022
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U.S. Navy Pilot Killed in Desert Crash During Training


Lt. Richard Bullock | Image by U.S. Naval Forces

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The name of the U.S. Navy pilot who died when his aircraft crashed during a regularly scheduled training trip in China Lake in Death Valley has been disclosed.

Lt. Richard Bullock was the pilot of a F/A-18E Super Hornet that went down at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, June 3, in Trona, California.

According to reports by USNI News, Bullock’s plane went down “in a remote, unpopulated area,” close to the Navy’s test site at Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS) China Lake in California.

Recovery activities were carried out by NAWS federal firefighters and naval security personnel. The Navy expressed its condolences to Lt. Bullock’s family, friends, and shipmates.

The Naval Air Station Lemoore (NASL), where Bullock was stationed, is home to California’s F/A-18E Super Hornet aircraft.

According to the website for Lemoore, the base is home to both the Commander of the Pacific Strike Fighter Wing and the Commander of the Joint Strike Fighter Wing.

The base is home to 16 active Strike Fighter squadrons.

The Navy spokeswoman said no other planes were involved in the accident, and no other people were injured.

The crash was at least the fourth involving a navy Super Hornet jet and the second deadly one on a training mission since 2019, according to the Associated Press.

A Naval Air Station F/A-18F Navy Super Hornet crashed in Death Valley in October 2021, injuring its pilot.

Bullock, a Montana native, had been part of the Strike Fighter Squadron 113 (VFA-113), also known as “Stingers,” since April 2021. According to his profile, he was enlisted into the Navy in Newport, Rhode Island, in 2016.

China Lake has 19,600 square miles of restricted and controlled airspace that comprises 12% of total airspace in California.

Known as R-2508 Special Use Airspace Complex, this airspace is jointly controlled by NAWS China Lake, Edwards Air Force Base, and Fort Irwin. Trona is about 236 miles southeast of the air station, which lies in the Central Valley.      

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