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CAFB instructor killed in Texas crash


Sarah Fowler



A Columbus Air Force Base instructor pilot died this weekend after his non-military plane crashed in Texas. 


Major Richard "Tracer" Schafer III, 35, died Sunday night after his private plane crashed near Abilene, Texas, according to CAFB officials. Schafer's brother, 28-year-old Matthew Schafer of Abilene, Texas, also died in the crash. 


Matthew Schafer's wife and child were also on board the aircraft, according to CAFB officials. They survived the incident. 


A graduate of the Air Force Academy, Richard Schafer served as instructor pilot in the 49th Fighter Training Squadron at CAFB. He flew the T-38 Talon. 


The National Transportation Safety Board said Schafer had flown to San Marcos, Texas, from Mississippi to pick up members of his family, according to, a Texas-based media website. 


After taking off from Abilene Regional Airport, someone from the aircraft reported an emergency to Abilene tower control. The aircraft turned left and crashed about one mile south of the control tower, according to website. 


The cause of the crash is under investigation by the NTSB. A preliminary report is expected to be released next week. A full report could take six months to one year to complete.


Sarah Fowler covered crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch.



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