Laughlin officer killed in vehicle accident|
Posted 4/16/2013 Updated 4/16/2013
47th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs
4/16/2013 - LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- An Air Force reserve instructor pilot and civilian employee was killed along with his wife and two daughters near San Antonio, Texas, April 13.
Lt. Col. Kenneth Koontz, a civilian simulator instructor and member of the 96th Flying Training Squadron was killed in a traffic accident on U.S. Route 90.
"Lt. Col. Kenneth 'Jughead' Koontz was one of the most seasoned T-6 instructor pilots at Laughlin," said Lt. Col. Sean Garrett, 96th FTS commander. "He was a valued and trusted leader within the 96th FTS and he was loved by the students, having recently been named the 'Best Guest Help IP' by Class 13-15."
Each pilot training class has instructor pilots who do not fly with them on a day-to-day basis, but do fly with them regularly. These instructor pilots are known informally as 'Guest Help IPs' and each class picks their favorite, as well as favorite simulator instructor. Koontz had been picked a number of times for these awards.
While Lt. Col. Koontz loved teaching students how to fly, it wasn't his top priority, explained Garrett.
"Jughead was a man of strong faith, and spending time with his family was always his priority. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him," said Garrett.
Before joining the Air Force Reserve, Koontz was in the Navy for 15 years. He became an Air Force reservist in 2006.
Many of the training flights for April 15 were curtailed as students and squadron members dealt with their grief.
"Our priorities right now are to help this family any way we can and to ensure our team is mentally ready to resume flight training," said Col. Tom Murphy, 47th Flying Training Wing commander. "Lt. Col. Koontz was a civilian employee and a Reserve lieutenant colonel, exemplifying what an Airman is all about, and he established a very high standard of excellence along the way. He and his family were deeply ingrained into the Laughlin, Brackettville and Del Rio communities. This is a tragedy and they will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Koontz family and friends."
Koontz flew 894 sorties equaling 5,656.5 flight hours during his career; 4,456 of those hours were in the Navy and 1,200 hours in the Air Force. He also had 2,036 hours in a simulator.
"That means he probably worked with 1,800 students in the SIMs alone," said Mr. Danny Williams, Director of Sims and Academics.
"The number of students Lt. Col. Koontz has worked with and helped shape into remarkable pilots is a testament to his skills and talents," said Murphy. "He helped us graduate the world's best pilots. That is a fact!"