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SAN DIEGO — The Navy identified three crew members that died in a Navy EA-6B Prowler jet crash Monday in Eastern Washington.
It is the Department of Defense’s policy to withhold the names of service members killed until 24 hours after their families are notified. The notifications were completed Monday.
All three were stationed on Whidbey Island. Their names are:
- Lieutenant Junior Grade Valerie Cappelaere Delaney; Naval Aviator; 26; from Ellicott City, Md.
- Lieutenant Junior Grade William Brown McIlvaine III; Naval Flight Officer, 24; from El Paso, Texas.
- Lieutenant Commander Alan A. Patterson; Naval Flight Officer, 34; from Tullahoma, Tenn.
The aircraft was conducting a routine training flight prior to the clash.
Cappelaere’s husband, Sean Delaney, said on Tuesday he is still trying to process the reality of losing his wife.
Delaney also works at NAS Whidby Island. The couple just got married last year in Maryland. The couple moved into a home in the Anacortes area not too long ago and close friends say Cappelaere was both beautiful in the inside and out. They say she was one of those people who was always smiling and positive.
Friends also said they new her job as a Navy pilot was dangerous. But when tragedy actually hits, the grief is hard to take in.
“That morning I didn’t want to believe it was her I mean I actually texted her immediately I said I hope you are OK I am praying for you I am sure it is someone you know but then to find out it was actually her you don’t want to believe anything terrible is going to happen to anyone you know in the military,” said close friend Alyssa Clawson.
“We are doing everything we can in a time of loss like this there is nothing we can do that is adequate so we are there for anything they need,” close friend Benjamin Clawson said.
Other neighbors said their thoughts are with the other two pilots who lost their lives. Neighbors said Mcilvaine was not married but had a girlfriend and also lived in the Anacortes area.
Experts said the crash investigation could take up to a year.
WHIDBEY ISLAND, Wash. — A small town shaken after a EA-6BNavy Prowler jet crashed Monday morning in Eastern Washington, killing all 3 on board.
The Prowler took off from the Naval Air Station Whidbey Island Monday. The NAS Whidby Island is home to the US Navy’s tactical electronic warfare squadron. The cause of the crash is under investigation.
The Navy has not yet released the names of the victims in the crash.
But, when the news of the crash spread, there was panic in the community, knowing the town had lost a few of its own. The panic turned into grief. By Monday night, Catalina Drive was illuminated with dozens of candles. More than a 100 people gathered for a vigil to pray for the victims.
“My heart all but stopped when I heard the news,” said Tara Hizon. Hizon is an Oak Harbor City Council member who organized the vigil.
There are no obvious leftovers of the Prowler except for a big imprint and debris. A manager at a nearby airport, Stan Dammel, snapped a picture after flying over the crash site. Dammel said he heard about the crash over the scanner.
“There is charred ground and small debris all over the place,” said Dammel.
Officials say there were no parachutes found on the ground.
Seasha Hassett, a resident who said her friend worked at NAS Whidbey Island, prepared the parachutes before the crew took off Monday morning.
“It is hard we get to know each other,” said Hassett.
It’s that familiarity that is the hardest for this tight knit community.
“We want to honor them and any other military for their service and what they do,” said Tina Wieldraayer-Provoncha.
HARRINGTON — A Navy plane crashed Monday morning about 10 miles outside of Harrington. Harrington is located about 50 miles west and southwest of Spokane. The plane went down in an unpopulated area.
A statement from the Naval Air Force base in San Diego said the plane was a Navy EA-6B Prowler jet that was assigned to the Electronic Attack Squadron at the Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. The plane was reported to be conducting a routine training flight prior to the crash.
The crash happened about 9 a.m. Scott McGowan, fire chief in Lincoln County, told the Spokesman-Review. McGowan did not have any other details of the crash.
The Navy confirmed the three crew on board the plane are dead. The names of the victims will not be released until next-of-kin has been notified.
Stan Dammel, a manager at the nearby Odessa Municipal Airport, told the paper that he had heard on a scanner that the plane had been located, but not the pilot.
A safety investigation is underway to determine the cause of the crash.
“There’s a big depression in the ground, just a big hole,” Dammel said. “As far as I could see there’s no sign of an airplane left. It just hit and exploded basically, and there’s debris all around the field where it hit.”
Residents of Whidbey Island spoke out about their grief, saying the community was shocked and dismayed at the crash.
“My dad was in the military,” said Seasha Hassett, a Whidbey Island resident. “My husband was in the military and I have a lot of friends in the military on that base.”