H-LOMPOC

Sep 25, 2013 1:49 AM by Connie Tran, KSBY News

Brother of local Navy pilot who died in helicopter crash said he was destined to be a figther pilot

KSBY is learning more about the Navy pilot from Lompoc who died in a helicopter crash in the Middle East on Sunday. The United States Navy said on Tuesday, 35-year old Lt. Cmdr. Landon Jones and Chief Warrant Officer 3 Jonathon S. Gibson died after their helicopter crashed into the Red Sea. Lt. Cmdr. Jones was from Lompoc.

Jones was commissioned into the Navy in 2001. Since then, he had been awarded multiple medals and ribbons, including: Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (1), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (3), Navy E Reward, National Defense Medal, Global War on Terror Expeditionary Medal, and the Global War on Terror Medal.

Jones' younger brother, Nolan Jones, is a police officer for the Lompoc Police Department. KSBY spoke with Nolan on Tuesday night and he said Jones leaves behind a wife and two young boys. He said he knew his brother would always become a fighter pilot. He said it stemmed as far back to when they were little boys and watched the popular Tom Cruise film "Top Gun" together.

The US Navy said Jones' MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter went down in the central Red Sea after conducting a landing on the deck of the guided-missile destroyer USS William P. Lawrence. Various aircraft and vessels searched for Jones and Chief Warrant Officer 3 Gibson, but they could not be found. Three other crew members, however, were rescued.

Nolan said his brother's career was moving forward quickly. Just last week, Nolan said, Jones was asked to become the Operations Officer for the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz.

"Doesn't surprise me one bit, no. It's exactly the person he was. He never did anything half way and never said he was gonna do and didn't do it," said Nolan.

The US Navy said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Gibson was from Aurora, Oregon. Both Jones and Gibson were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

The US Navy told KSBY News on Tuesday, "The loss of these two pilots from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Six is a loss for our entire Naval Aviation family. Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to the families, friends and shipmates of those lost and I can assure you, we will do everything possible to support them."

The US Navy said they are conducting an investigation to find out exactly how the helicopter crashed, however they said the crash was not due to hostile activity.

A US Navy official said a memorial service has been planned aboard USS Nimitz.

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