Air Force pilot, Dave Shmitz lost his life late Tuesday night in the crash of an F-16CM Fighting Falcon assigned to the 20th Fighter Wing, Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina. The mishap took place at approximately 11:30 p.m. at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina.
The tragic crash which happened yesterday was first confirmed by the Shaw Air Force Base. In official statement via their Facebook page through Col. Larry Sullivan, commander of the 20th Fighter Wing “The pilot of the F-16CM that crashed at approximately 2330 on June 30, 2020, during a routine training mission here at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., was pronounced dead.
The name of the pilot is being withheld until 24 hours after next of kin notification. Out of respect and consideration for the family, we ask for your patience and to avoid speculation until we release more information.”
The aircraft was on a routine training mission with one pilot on board when the crash happened at 11:30 p.m., according to the message
Tributes Floods Social Media
Valerie Schmitz Wrote..
I wish I could wake up from this nightmare.
Yesterday I woke up early and let my sweet Dave sleep in as long as he could since he would be night flying and would be off to a later start.
Close to noon, as I was working in the office, I hear Dave shout my name from our bedroom. Toby and I enter the bedroom and see Dave all bundled up in bed. He smiled and said, “I just want to be with my family!” My heart melted and I jumped on the bed, snuggled up close to Dave and lay my head on his warm chest, steadily rising with each breath. I could hear his heartbeat. Toby jumped on the bed next to me and we all snuggled for a moment and watched funny animal videos before Dave had to get ready for the day.
We kissed goodbye just like we do every time he leaves for work. He leaned down afterwards and asked Toby for a kiss and Toby gently licked his cheek. I watched Dave walk down the hall in his flight suit, open the front door, and leave. This time he looked back over his shoulder at me and smiled one last time before he shut the door. I didn’t know that would be the last time I’d see my husband alive.
Sometime after midnight I awoke to Toby barking loudly at the doorbell ringing. I was so confused. Why is Dave ringing the doorbell? I opened the door and in front of me I see members of his squadron and a chaplain. My heart sank to my stomach. The looks on their faces said it all. I was informed that there was an accident and unfortunately Dave did not make it. In an instant my life had changed forever and my heart shattered into a million pieces. A few hours later I kissed my sweet husband one last time on his cold lips.
Hold your loved ones close. You never know when it might just be the last time you’ll see them. Your life can change forever in an instant.
I love you so much, Dave, I always will.
Baby pilot went down again. 16’s are so trash. David Schmitz was his name
— Beretta Scott King (@BerettaSKing) July 2, 2020
Yesterday’s crash is the fifth fighter crash in six weeks. On May 15, an Air Force F-22 Raptor crashed at Eglin Air Force Base. Less than a week later, a F-35 Joint Strike Fighter was also lost at Eglin.