ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A civilian contractor was killed and an Air Force airman was injured during a training exercise Tuesday evening that involved live fire from two F-16 Fighting Falcons at Holloman Air Force Base, base officials announced Wednesday.
Names of the person killed and the one injured will not be released until 24 hours after their next of kin have been notified, according to a news release from the 49th Wing public affairs office.
The 49th Wing, commanded by Col. Houston Cantwell, is the host unit at Holloman. The airman injured was assigned to the 7th Air Support Operations Squadron out of Fort Bliss, Texas, according to Air Force officials. The squadron is a geographically separate unit assigned to the 93d Air Ground Operations Wing at Moody Air Force Base in Georgia.
Neither of the F-16 pilots was injured.
The incident occurred at the Red Rio Range, located within the adjacent White Sands Missile Range, when the aircraft employed air-to-surface ordnance, according to Holloman officials.
Both of the casualties were with a ground-control party when the incident occurred about 7:30 p.m. Both were evacuated to Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center in Alamogordo, where one individual was pronounced dead at approximately 9 p.m.. The other individual was treated for injuries and released.
The two F-16s involved are assigned to the 54th Fighter Group, a geographically separated unit under the 56th Fighter Wing located at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz.
Holloman, a 59,639-acre base in south-central New Mexico, hosts the 54th Fighter Group’s F-16 pilot training program.
The F-16 Fighting Falcon, which has been in the Air Force inventory since 1979, is a single-engine supersonic multirole fighter. Its armament includes an M-61A1 20mm multibarrel cannon; electronic countermeasure pods; and external attachments for up to six air-to-air missiles and air-to-surface munitions.