NEW PEKIN (WAVE) — Lt. Scot Ames Jr. was an instructor with the 50th Flying Training Squadron at Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi, when his T-38C Talon trainer jet crashed near the Montgomery, Alabama airport on Friday evening.
The next day, word of his death had already spread throughout his hometown of New Pekin, Indiana.
A 2014 graduate of Pekin’s Eastern High School, Ames, 24, was popular, athletic and he made memories both on and off the field.
“Kids liked him, teachers liked him. There probably wouldn’t have a teacher or anyone who had a negative thing to say about Scot,” Eastern principal Darin Farris said. “It’s pretty devastating to hear that news. We all take life for granted sometimes. I know that he was probably doing something that he loved to do.”
“I recall him talking about wanting to fly, wanting to go through an aviation program,” said Jeff Pennington, the Eastern High baseball coach. “I never knew that he would be entering the military and I didn’t even know he was a lieutenant until this accident happened.”
In a Facebook tribute, the Fallen Wings Foundation praised Ames for “dedication to his trade, passion for learning, infectious positivity and championing his colleagues.”
“It was his job, it meant the world to him,” said Austin Roberts, Ames’ longtime friend. “He was teaching the students that he had. He loved flying and loved talking about it. It was like it was second nature to him. He loved to do what he did.”
Ames’ plane crashed while heading to Florida during an instruction flight with a student from the Japanese Air Self Defense Force. The flight student was also killed.
The Air Force is investigating the crash.