Navy Identifies Pilot Missing From Friday Hornet Collision

September 15, 2014 10:21 AM
Lt. Nathan Poloski in 2012. Nathan Poloski Photo via LA Times.
Lt. Nathan Poloski in 2012. Nathan Poloski Photo via LA Times.

The Navy has identified the pilot who is missing and presumed dead following a Friday mid-air collision of two F/A-18C Hornets near Wake Island.

Lt. Nathan Poloski, 26 of Lake Arrowhead, Calif., was assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 94 “Mighty Shrikes” (VFA-94) based at Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif.

Poloski was a 2009 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and had reported to the squadron in April.

“Nathan was an outstanding person, naval officer and aviator,” said Cmdr. Michael Langbehn, commanding officer of VFA 94 in a statement.
“My personal thoughts and prayers are for his family, friends and shipmates as they endure this immeasurable loss.”

The two Hornets collided about 250 nautical miles west of Wake Island in the Pacific after taking off from USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) on Friday.

The cause of the collision is still under investigation.

“The Navy conducted an extensive search for Poloski, covering more than 3,000 square miles using Carl Vinson, guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill, guided-missile destroyers USS Gridley, USS Sterett, USS Dewey, helicopters assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 15 and Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 73, P-8 Poseidon aircraft from Guam and satellite imagery,” according to a statement.
“The search was unable to locate or recover any remains of the missing aviator.”

Carl Vinson is in the vicinity of Guam in support of Exercise Valiant Shield 2014. The 180,000 troop exercise includes elements of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. The exercise started today and will run until Sept. 23.

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services since 2009 and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.
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