Lt. Richard Bullock, a Navy pilot, died June 3 after his F/A-18E Super Hornet crashed, the Navy announced late Sunday night.
Bullock was based at Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., and was assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 113. At the time of his crash, Bullock was flying a routine training mission, the Navy said in the press release. The Super Hornet crashed around 2:30 p.m. PST near Trona, Calif.
Bullock crashed in a remote, unpopulated area, which is currently secured by the Navy and local authorities while recovery efforts are ongoing, according to the press release. The site was near the Navy’s test range at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, Calif., USNI News previously reported.
Bullock, originally from Montana, had been assigned to “the Stingers” of VFA-113 since April 2021. He commissioned into the Navy in 2016 via officer candidate school in Newport, R.I., according to his biography.
The Navy uses China Lake and an area by Death Valley for pilot training. In the past three years, there have been three other crashes with one resulting in the death of the pilot around the area.
In October, a F/A-18F crashed in Death Valley, resulting in pilot injuries. In 2020, a pilot crashed a F/A-18E in China Lake. In 2019, a pilot died after an F/A-18E crashed in Death Valley during a training flight.
The following is the complete June 5, 2022 statement from Naval Air Forces.
U.S. Navy pilot Lt. Richard Bullock was killed when his F/A-18E Super Hornet crashed in the vicinity of Trona, Calif., at approximately 2:30 p.m. (PDT), June 3.
Bullock was assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 113 based at Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., and was flying a routine training mission at the time before his aircraft went down in a remote, unpopulated area. No civilians were harmed as a result of this incident.
The incident is currently under investigation and the scene of the crash is secured by Navy and local authorities while recovery efforts are ongoing.
The Navy mourns this tragic loss alongside the family, friends and shipmates of Lt. Bullock.