Naval Air Station Oceana will hold a memorial service on March 30 at 10 a.m. for Lt. Cmdr. James Brice Johnson and Lt. Caleb King of Strike Fighter Squadron 213, two naval aviators who were killed March 14 when their F/A-18F crashed on approach to Naval Air Station Key West.
The incident remains under investigation, officials say.
Navy officials are limiting media access for the memorial, with outlets permitted to have a reporter present, but Navy photographers will be the only group allowed to photograph the event.
Officials plan to hold a press availability period just off base prior to the ceremony.
Funerals for both officers were held in separate locations by the respective families.
Johnson’s funeral was held at the Virginia Beach United Methodist Church on March 23, and the service was followed by a “missing man” formation flyover at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront.
King was laid to rest the following day at Cape Canaveral National Cemetery near Cocoa Beach, Florida.
At the homecoming, VFA’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Kevin Robb, paid tribute to the pair of aviators, lauding their “warrior ethos” that helped the squadron achieve combat success and vowing the squadron would “heal together” and honor the fallen through the performance of duty.
Robb also acknowledged that he’s anxious for answers about what happened in Key West.
“I understand the desire for all of us to know what happened in this terrible tragedy,” he said. “I ask for your trust and patience as there is an active naval aviation mishap investigation being conducted by some of the the finest professionals in the entire world.”
Mark D. Faram is a former reporter for Navy Times. He was a senior writer covering personnel, cultural and historical issues. A nine-year active duty Navy veteran, Faram served from 1978 to 1987 as a Navy Diver and photographer.