Longmeadow residents pledge to support pilot's family - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Longmeadow residents pledge to support pilot's family

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LONGMEADOW, MA (WSHM) -

The 104th Fighter Wing at Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield continues to mourn the passing of one of their pilots.

Lt. Col. Morris Fontenot Jr. died this past Wednesday when his F-15 jet crashed into a mountain in rural Virginia.

On the base's Facebook page Sunday, it was announced that all 104th personnel will be authorized to wear black T-shirts instead of tan this week as a sign of support and respect for Fontenot and his family.

Saturday night, hundreds turned out on the Longmeadow Town Common to pay their respects to Fontenot.

He, his wife and two daughters had just moved to town earlier this year after Fontenot left active military to join the Massachusetts Air National Guard.

Fontenot's wife, Kara, spoke to the crowd, thanking the 104th and the town for their support.

She said they moved to Longmeadow to finally settle down, and they plan to stay in town for years to come.

Residents said they were proud to see their support shine through.

"It makes you very glad to be a resident of a community that is supportive of anyone who is in need," said Marybeth Bergeron. "Certainly the turnout here shows that people are everything that I said. They're patriots; they're good strong people who show up."

During Saturday night's ceremony, the 104th announced that Fontenot will be buried early next month at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO.

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