Remains of 115th Fighter Wing pilot return home
The hero’s welcome took place at the 115th Fighter Wing at Truax Field in Madison on Saturday at 11 a.m.
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -A hero’s welcome took place on Saturday to honor Major Durwood “Hawk” Jones’ remains return home after he died in a military jet crash in December.
His remains arrived Saturday at Truax Field from Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. Maj. Jones was killed when his F-16 crashed in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula Dec. 8.
In accordance with U.S. Air Force policy, all military personnel who are killed in the line of duty are received through the Air Force Mortuary Affairs Office in Dover.
Following the arrival, a processional began at approximately 11:45 a.m. from the 115th Fighter Wing’s main gate. It then proceeded to Anderson Street towards Packers Avenue and followed Highway 113 to County Highway M in Westport. The processional headed to Allen Boulevard in Middleton before ending at Cress Funeral and Cremation Services on University Avenue in Madison.
Jerry Thornsen and his family watched the processional outside the base. He said his son serves in the unit and worked closely with Maj. Jones. “[My son] only has glowing things to say about his professionalism, willingness to serve, record of service,” he said.
Thornsen continued, “They’re a very close unit. They’re grieving. It’s a gut-wrenching loss. Any support we can give, we’re eager to do so.”
Maj. Jones’s family is asking for privacy upon the arrival at the funeral home and ask people not to congregate on the funeral home grounds.
The Air National Guard noted Jones was a decorated combat veteran, having deployed to Japan and Korea in 2015 and 2017, respectively. He also was deployed to Afghanistan in 2019 as part of Operation Freedom Sentinel.
The 115th Fighter Wing told NBC15 authorities are still determining the cause of Maj. Jones’s death, now in phase two of the three-part investigation. They expect to share an initial report on the crash in about a month.
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