Remembering Nathan Williams, Navy officer killed in plane crash

Lt. Nathan Williams / Navy photo

People in Oswego are remembering Nathan Williams, a 2000 graduate of Oswego High School killed in a plane crash.

Williams was a standout saxophonist, spending many hours in the band room.

"Nathan was one of the finest musicians I ever had the pleasure of working with in the school," said Anthony Joseph, Nathan's music teacher. "He was really an incredible talent."

"He was always smiling," said Bill Palange, Nathan's other music teacher. "(He was) just the happiest kid that brought a lot of enthusiasm to everything he did."

But music wasn't his only passion -- Nathan excelled in hockey and lacrosse. His teachers told me he was a role model to all students, and the type of kid that made you want to come to class each day.

"Actually having the time to sit down with Nate too long was not easy," Palange said. "He on the go all the time."

His teachers said all Nathan could talk about was flying. It was his dream, they said.

Now, their hearts go out to the Williams family, who has undoubtedly lost an incredible man.

Earlier coverage:

The U.S. Navy has released the names of two men who were killed when a fighter jet crashed in a field near a Central California air base, and one of them is a Central New York native.

Navy officials said Thursday that Lt. Matthew Ira Lowe and Lt. Nathan Hollingsworth Williams died when the F/A-18F Super Hornet went down during a routine training flight Wednesday.

The 33-year-old Lowe was from Plantation, Fla., and the 28-year-old Williams was from Oswego, New York. Lowe was the pilot and Williams was a weapons service officer.

The Oswego City Attorney's Office confirms to CNY Central that Nate Williams is the son of Gay Williams, the city attorney.

The crash happened about a half mile from where a crew for a farm labor contractor was planting tomatoes, and supervisor Jonathan Aguayo described a scene involving black smoke and scattered debris.

"I heard a loud noise, I turned around and saw some smoke," Aguayo said. "It was a big black type of smoke coming off the ground. When my dad and I drove up to take a closer look, we saw some debris in the field, smoldering. One large piece and a bunch of smaller pieces."

Aguayo said he heard the crash but did not see it happen.

The Super Hornets are an advanced version of the single-seat F-18 Hornet, according to the Navy. The jets are used by the military for combat operations and also in the Navy's Blue Angels Flight Demonstration Squadron, which performs aerial shows.

"They're about a $50 million aircraft," said Larson.

Lemoore is about 30 miles south of Fresno. The Naval Air Station, which is home to about 275 jets, is the West Coast hub for the U.S. Pacific Fleet. Its mission is to train and man Strike-Fighter squadrons in the region.

Navy spokeswoman Melinda Larson says the incident is under investigation. Lemoore Naval Air Station is approximately 30 miles from Fresno.