Reno man flying with California Air Guard dies in Ukraine crash
A Reno man was one of two pilots killed Tuesday in a crash in the western Ukraine.
Lt. Col. Seth “Jethro” Nehring of Reno was a fighter pilot with the California Air National Guard’s 194th Fighter Squadron, part of the U.S. Air Force 144th Fighter Wing based in Fresno, Calif., the Air Force said Wednesday in a statement.
Nehring was sent to Ukraine as part of the Clear Sky 2018 training exercise, the guard said. He served as the operations officer in the joint operations center. The guard sent him because he had more than 20 years as a pilot flying the F-16 Fighting Falcon and F-15 Eagle aircraft.
Clear Sky 2018 is a joint and multi-national exercise that involves approximately 950 people from Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States, the Air Force said.
The crash was in the Khmelnytskyi region of western Ukraine.
The Ukrainian pilot was Col. Ivan Petrenko, deputy commander of the East Air, chief of aviation from Ozern Air Base, Zhytomer, Ukraine, the Air Force said.
Nehring has been a member of the 144th family for more than 20 years, the guard said. He began his career in Fresno as an enlisted crew chief before being selected as a pilot and flew the F-16 Viper for more than 15 years and then flew the F-15 Eagle.
“We are a close-knit family and when a tragedy like this occurs, every member of the 144th Fighter Wing feels it,” U.S. Air Force Col. Daniel Kelly, commander of the 144th FW, said in the statement. “We share in the sorrow felt by Jethro’s loved ones and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends as well as those of the Ukrainian aviator.”