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Navy pilot killed in plane crash identified

U.S. Navy Lt. Rhiannon Ross, an instructor pilot, stands in front of a T-6B Texan II primary flight trainer aircraft at Naval Air Station Whiting Field in Milton, Florida. (LT Michelle Tucker, U.S Navy photo/Released)
October 26, 2020

The U.S. Navy on Sunday identified Navy Lt. Rhiannon Ross as one of two service members killed in a T-6B Texan II trainer plane crash Friday in Alabama.

Ross, 30, was the second of the two service members killed in the crash to be identified. The U.S. Coast Guard had previously identified Ensign Morgan Garrett, 24, as the other service member killed in the crash.

“I’d like to offer my deepest sympathies to the families and loved ones of ENS Morgan Garrett and the entire naval aviation community on the loss of LT Rhiannon Ross,” Dr. Gladys Brignoni, Director of U.S. Coast Guard Force Readiness Command said in a statement to American Military News. “Both of these officers left an indelible mark on those around them during their all too brief lives; their memories will live on through those who knew them best.  We appreciate all of the support from the U.S. Navy team in Pensacola during this challenging time for both of our services.”

Cmdr. Zach Harrell, Commander, Naval Air Forces Public Affairs Officer, provided American Military News with some information about Ross’ service record.

Ross, a native of Waxom, Michigan, entered Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) at the University of Michigan in 2008 and graduated in 2012. From there she went into the Naval Aviation Schools Command, Pensacola, FL in May of 2012 and then was assigned to Training Wing 5 in September of 2012. She went on to further assignments in Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 2, Norfolk, Virginia in 2014, the Center for Security Forces Detachment Kittery in Portsmouth, New Hampshire in 2015 and Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 26 in Norfolk in 2015. In February of 2018, Ross was assigned to her last duty assignment with Training Squadron (VT 2) in Milton, Florida.

Harrell said Ross’ service decorations included the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal and said the current list of decorations for Ross may not reflect those awards and citations present in the service member’s Official Military Personnel File and listed in the Navy Department Awards Web Service site and may not be complete.

The Friday crash reportedly resulted in damage to two cars and a house, but no civilians were reported injured.

The crash was the Navy’s first aviation-related death in more than a year.

The trainer plane crash occurred just three days after a Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet crashed near Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, California. The pilot in that case was able to safely eject and was briefly hospitalized before being released that same day.