LONDON — The U.S. Air Force pilot who was killed on Monday when his fighter jet crashed off the northeast coast of England has been identified as First Lt. Kenneth Allen.
Lieutenant Allen, 27, was the only person aboard the jet, a U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagle that was stationed at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, a base in eastern England, and crashed in the North Sea around 9:40 a.m. Monday while on a routine training mission.
His body and wreckage from the jet were discovered by a British search-and-rescue team later on Monday.
Lieutenant Allen, an assistant chief of weapons and tactics whose family called him Kage, first arrived at the 48th Fighter Wing, the unit stationed in Lakenheath, in February, the same month he married his wife, Hannah.
“I never knew a heart could shatter like this,” Ms. Allen wrote in a Facebook post on Tuesday. “But I’ve promised you today that the rest of my life will be a tribute to you.”
The couple had intended to get married next year, but then decided to do so in February right before he reported to Britain, according to Ms. Allen’s Facebook posts. They had been thinking of having a religious ceremony in May, but the pandemic put that plan on hold.
A GoFundMe page set up by Lieutenant Allen’s family on Tuesday to help cover travel and funeral costs has already raised more than $20,000.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Lieutenant Allen, and mourn with his family and his fellow Reapers in the 493rd Fighter Squadron,” Col. Will Marshall, commander of the 48th Fighter Wing, said in a statement on Tuesday. “The tremendous outpouring of love and support from our communities has been a ray of light in this time of darkness,” he added.
The base in Lakenheath, where the 48th Fighter Wing — the Air Force’s only F-15 unit in Europe — is stationed, boasts more than 4,000 American military personnel.
The 48th Fighter Wing is also known as the Statue of Liberty Wing, and its mission is to “provide worldwide responsive combat air power and support.”
The unit led raids into Libya in 1986, among other missions, and has been involved in antiterrorism operations since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, according to its website.