F-15D Crash during Red Flag 08-3, July 30, 2008

Text and Photos by Alan Gudaitis, with friendly permission
Photos of crash site artifacts by Jeff Gregos

Late this morning I was observing Red Flag from Coyote Pass on Rt. 375 just five miles east of Rachel, NV when I noticed a black mushroom shaped cloud rising over the mountains N/W of me near what is called Cedar Gate Road, an entrance road to the rear gate of the Nevada Test site. It is about 25-30 miles from where I was observing.

I took several photos of the cloud through my 400mm Nikon Lens, and then jumped in my pickup and proceeded to drive to what I thought might be the crash area. By then I knew a jet had crashed from all the activity broadcasting from my scanners. When I arrived at the Cedar Gate Road I parked my truck as I had an elevated view of the expanse of the desert floor where I could see black smoke rising several miles into the desert, about a mile or so N/W of Cedar Ranch. Within a short time rescue trucks were speeding to the downed aircraft, and soon a rescue helicopter arrived to bring the downed pilots to the hospital. It was apparent from the radio transmissions that they were able to eject from their disabled jet.

From my vantage point at Cedar Gate Rd. Junction it looked like the jet went straight in. It looked like it crashed into a gully or wash, as I could not see any debris field, just smoke rising from behind the gully. There was a radar truck within a half mile from the crash, and who ever was driving must have seen the crash happen. I was able to take several long distance photos of the activities.

What was extremely moving, was that the fallen warriors wing man continued orbiting over the crash site until the fallen pilots were finally transported to AFB hospital.

Later I learned that one of the pilots, Lt. Col. Thomas Bouley, the commander of the 65th Aggressor Squadron, had died in the accident. One air warrior went up on a training flight expecting to be home for supper, but never made it. My heart goes out to the family.

Update 03/2013: We received this email from SSgt Kevin Kendrick, USAF, Lt Col Bouley’s Crew Chief: Gilbert Frasquillo and I were and always will be Lt Col Bouley’s Crew Chiefs. My heart continues to go out to his family, friends and our country for we lost a great man that day. A day that a great number of us will never forget. I still remember talking with him that morning and watching him take off, never once thinking it would be the last time. I just wanted to thank you for the kind words in the article. I was very happy to see Col Bouley’s chocks were still there safe and sound. Thank you again. RIP Moses

Related links:

"Mushroom Cloud" of the crash, as seen from Coyote Summit, south-east of Rachel

Crash site as seen from the intersection of Cedar Gate Road and Hwy 375. The wreckage is out of view in a wash

Rescue helicopter arrives at the crash site

Close-up of the crash site clean-up and investigation team. The wreckage is in a wash behind the pickup trucks

Photo of the crashed aircraft, serial #85-0131, at Nellis AFB, taken in 2007; photo by Jim Bob, with friendly permission

Memorial at the crash site. The plaque reads:

Lt Col Tom Moses Bouley

You were a great mentor and friend. I am sorry we didn't have more time to learn from you. You will be greatly missed. Continue protecting the skies for us. Your ever faithful dedicated crew chiefs.

SSgt Kevin Kendrick
SrA Gilbert Frasquillo

Crash site artifacts; photos by Jeff Gregos with friendly permission

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