A Navy statement Friday says the pilot was 33-year-old Lt. Charles Z. Walker.
The pilot of the F/A-18E which crashed approx. 40 miles north of @NAWS_CL 31JUL has been identified. The Super Hornet, assigned to the “Vigilantes” of VFA-151 based at NAS Lemoore was flown by LT Charles Z. Walker, 33. pic.twitter.com/knkrgCznRs
— flynavy (@flynavy) August 2, 2019
“The NAS Lemoore aviation family is grieving the loss of one of our own,” said Capt. James Bates, commander of the Strike Fighter Wing Pacific. “Lt. Walker was an incredible naval aviator, husband, and son.”
Crash Is Under Investigation
Walker’s F/A-18E Super Hornet crashed July 31 in Death Valley National Park while flying through a canyon where military pilots routinely conduct low-level training missions.
The crash occurred near a park area nicknamed Star Wars Canyon where tourists often gather to watch the jets.
Seven park visitors on a canyon overlook suffered minor injuries caused by debris from the crash.
The Super Hornet was assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron VFA-151 based at Naval Air Station Lemoore. The fighter squadron is part of an air group attached to the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation.
More About the Pilot
According to military records, Walker received his commission Dec. 15, 2008, after graduating from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Dayton Beach, Florida. He was a member of the Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps there.
Walker joined Lemoore’s VFA-122 in June 2011 and then reported to the VFA-195 “Dambusters” in April 2012 for a three-year stint in Iwakuni, Japan.