Air Force F-16 pilot Capt. James Michael Steel was killed in Afghanistan crash

10:59 AM, Apr 5, 2013   |    comments
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KABUL, Afghanistan  -- The Department of Defense announced Friday an airman was killed after an Air Force F-16 has crashed in eastern Afghanistan, killing the pilot.

Officials say 29-year-old Capt. James Michael Steel, of Tampa, died April 3 in the crash near Bagram Airfield. 

"While the cause of the crash is under investigation, initial reporting indicates there was no insurgent activity in the area at the time of the crash," according to a news release received by the Air Force Times.

His body has reportedly been recovered, and the crash site has been secured. 

Capt. Steel was assigned to the 77th Fighter Squadron, Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina.

The 77th fighter squadron, known as the Gamblers, is serving a 6-month deployment to Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, according to GreenvilleOnline. That group includes pilots, administrative staffers, mechanics and technicians.

The pilots' primary job in Afghanistan is to provide close-air support for U.S. and coalition troops on the ground.

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